Wednesday, February 23, 2011

RECIPE - Brazilian Stroganoff (Estrogonofe)

Originating in the Czarist Russia of the 19th century, the recipe for the beef and cream dish called Stoganoff became known worldwide in the 1950s. Brazil was part of that international expansion, and from its first appearances on the menus of the sophisticated São Paulo restaurants of that decade it has grown to become an iconic Brazilian dish.

As mentioned in the previous post on Flavors of Brazil, in finding a new home in Brazil stroganoff became estrogonofe, and the recipe changed to adapt to the Brazilian palate and to the availability of Brazilian products. The sour cream found in the 1950s American version of Stroganoff is replaced in the Brazilian recipe by creme de leite. And the cream sauce is made more assertive by the addition of a number of prepared, bottled sauces.

The Brazilian recipe calls for filé mignon and a lot of it - 2.2 lbs. (1 kg). Beef is relatively less expensive here than in North America or Europe so the quantity is not surprising. The recipe can be made with a smaller amount of beef. Other less expensive cuts of beef can be substituted, though as the dish has a short cooking time, do not choose a cut that requires a long cooking period to become tender.
RECIPE - Brazilian Stroganoff (Estrogonofe)
Serves 5

2.2 lb (1 kg) filé mignon or other cut of lean beef, cut into thin 1-2 inch strips.
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. neutral vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups creme de leite (or sour cream)
1/3 cup ketchup
3 Tbsp. mustard (any creamy style, do not use whole-grain)
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce (Molho inglês)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (in Brazil, estrogonofe is generally made with canned mushrooms. Fresh mushrooms can be substituted)
Season the strips of meat with salt and pepper to taste. In a heavy frying pan add 1 Tbsp. of the oil, and fry the meat until well-browned. Cook in batches to avoid overcrowding. Reserve the meat, keeping warm.

In the same pan, heat the remaining Tbsp. oil, then add the garlic and cook until just beginning to brown. Add the onions and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the onion is transparent but not browned. Return the meat to the pan, then add the creme de leite, the ketchup, the mustard and Worcestershire sauce, stir to mix and then add the mushrooms. Cook for five minutes to allow the flavors to mix and the mushrooms to cook.

Serve immediately, accompanied by white rice and, if desired, packaged shoestring potatoes.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brazileira by Abril Editora.


  1. I think that estrogonofe in this way must be a Lusophone thing, as my husband (who grew up in the Azores with his Cape Verdean mother) grew up eating it as well. He also swears it can only be eaten with rice (or mashed potatoes), whereas the Americanized version is almost always served with pasta. Interesting!

  2. Interesting comment! The connections between Brazil and Cabo Verde are very close in all kinds of ways. Even geographically, as Cabo Verde is only 1500 miles from Fortaleza, where I live. That's less distance than from here to Sao Paulo.
    I'm curious, does your husband's family's recipe include ketchup and mustard?

  3. In the south of Brazil we don't usually include Mustard or Worcerstershire Sauce, but use a lot of tomato sauce instead.

  4. Again, you come to the rescue with a recipe. Thank goodness for all of your Brazilian cooking knowledge, available to me in english.

  5. Crème de Leite is not Sour Cream. It's Table Cream, usually found in a Nestle Can near the Sweetened Condensed Milk, where the baking stuff are. Or if you have a Latin area in your local supermarket.

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  7. To make it even more delicious, use grilled chicken thighs. (chicken breast tends to be too dry) Whenever I take the time to pull out the grill, I like to double the amount of meat needed, so I can make stroganoff with leftover steak or chicken. Charcoal is a must:) Yum! What I grew up on instead of hamburger and mushroom soup 'stroganoff' my husband did! Make a double or triple batch, omitting the cream. Freeze in meal size portions in Ziploc freezer bags. Reheat adding the table cream just before serving. Good for 3-6months, if not gobbled up before:)