Caribou Stroganoff: A Classic Favorite Featuring Wild Game

Caribou Stroganoff on homemade fettuccine_n

From San Francisco to Sydney and from Tokyo to Toronto, Beef Stroganoff is a popular dinner item. Here’s a twist on a classic favorite.

Ever since its origination in 19th century Russia, Stroganoff has been served to rave reviews. Early iterations were created with beef cubes and and early written recipe for the sauce included mustard. Mushrooms and onions came later. These days, cubes have largely given way to thin strips of meat and mustard is considered optional by many cooks.

I’d not made Stroganoff till recently. Happy to fill requests, I put some caribou we’d recently been given to good use. The Stroganoff came out can’t-stop-eating-it good and we and our guests made short work of it. But even as I was simmering the sauce, I knew next time I’d add tarragon.

In our view, the addition of this herb really brought the dish alive. Other than that, be gentle with additional flavors, including garlic. This dish is about meat and mushrooms.

Caribou Stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 1 pound caribou cut into thin strips, about 1/4″ x 1″ (or use similar meat game such as elk, venison or lean beef)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth. (Excellent broth can be made usingĀ Better than Bouillon)
  • 3/4 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 pound mushroom caps, sliced thin (Shitake mushrooms are a good choice. Here in bush Alaska, we use dried mushrooms.)
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced thin
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp flour, separated into equal portions
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil separated into equal portions
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • red wine – just a splash

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, sour cream, heavy cream, a few grinds of pepper and tarragon. Set aside.
  2. Place caribou strips in a large bowl. Add 1 tbsp flour and a few grinds of fresh pepper and mix ingredients so that meat is coated.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. When oil is hot enough to cause a drop of water or a pinch of flour to sizzle, add the meat. Stir and turn meat frequently to ensure all sides are seared. When meat is cooked through (about 5 minutes), place in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Pour pan juices into a bowl and set aside to cool.
  5. Deglaze the pan with a splash of red wine. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and butter, heat over medium heat, and add the onions. Stir frequently. After about two minutes, add the mushrooms and garlic and sprinkle the pan’s contents with flour, reducing heat if necessary. Continue to cook and stir just till onions begin to become translucent (about 5 minutest total).
  6. Return the meat to the pan. Thoroughly mix ingredients together and add the beef broth. Cover and simmer over low heat till broth is well reduced (cooked down) – about 15 to 30 minutes.
  7. Combine pan juices with sour cream mixture and stir into the pan. Heat to piping hot (but do not boil) and serve over fettucini, other pasta, or rice.

Serve with fall vegetables and a gin and tonic with a wedge of lime.