Dinner/ Recipes

Lamb Stroganoff

When you think of Canadian food, what comes to your mind? Maybe the stereotypical: the poutine, the maple syrup, or the back bacon.

Maybe you know enough to take it down to the more regional offerings: the tourtière in Quebec, the flipper pie in Newfoundland, the pierogies in Saskatchewan and Alberta, or the Nanaimo Bar in… well, Nanaimo.

But what are Canadians actually making and eating at home? Google Trends says that the number one recipe that Canadians searched for in 2019 was… Beef Stroganoff.

Beef stroganoff was a dish of my childhood; my mom always made it with ground beef, smothered in a creamy, mushroom sauce, and served over whatever pasta was on hand. As a kid, it was one of my favorite things that she would make for us. And you can see why, despite it being a bit of a dated recipe (the classics never die!), it’s still being made in Canada’s kitchens: it’s quick, it’s satisfying, and it’s definitely comfort food. And, apparently, it’s also definitely Canadian food (despite its Russian origins).

One of my goals for this year – and the recipes that I’m going to share on this site – is to inspire people to try new flavors, to expand their world of ingredients and how they understand food, cooking, and their relationship to it. I want to craft recipes that you want to make, but also ones that inspire you to try something new to you: whether it’s a new ingredient or a new dish or a new process. There’s so much amazing food to try and the flavor combinations are endless: I hope you’re willing to try some new things with me this year!

This lamb stroganoff takes the Canadian classic and gives it a Middle Eastern backbone. It’s still got all the elements that make it that comforting, satisfying dish, while adding subtle changes. Lamb is swapped in for the beef for more flavor (it’s true). My mom always made her stroganoff with ground beef: it’s cheaper, easier, and perfect for a quick meal, so I’ve kept this recipe similar by using ground lamb. In a stroganoff, the typical addition to add the ‘creaminess’ (and a bit of tanginess) is sour cream. But in many Middle Eastern food cultures, savory dishes incorporate yogurt, not sour cream, for a tangy, creamy addition. And, that’s what I’ve done here. I love the yogurt addition so much that I might start making my beef stroganoff with it too…. I’ve also added a fragrant hit of baharat, a blend of warming, savory Middle Eastern spices that packs a ton of flavor without any heat. It’s often paired with lamb and it’s perfect for this warming, comforting dish.

The resulting dish is still perfectly classic: incorporating many complementary aspects of classic Middle Eastern dishes that use lamb, yogurt, and baharat together (such as this Palestinian dish, laban immo) into a classic ‘Canadian’ stroganoff over egg noodles. Try this for a unique, easy, midweek meal!

Lamb Stroganoff

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By Eric Ritskes Serves: 4

This dish melds classic Middle Eastern flavor combinations into the form of a beef stroganoff straight from my childhood. Best of all? It's an easy to make, ready in 30 minutes, midweek dinner! No wonder my mom had it on repeat... Lamb replaces the beef, yogurt replaces the sour cream, and baharat ties the flavors all together. Ladled over egg noodles and sprinkled with parsley, this is a quick, comforting dish that is sure to please the whole family.... (Haha, who are we kidding! If your family is anything like mine, there's sure to be at least one kid who liked stroganoff last week but refuses to eat it this week. Good luck!)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon baharat spice blend
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 12 oz egg noodles, cooked according to package instructions

Instructions

1

Heat butter or oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Saute onions and mushrooms until onions become translucent and the mushrooms shrink and gently brown, approximately 6-8 min.

2

Add garlic, cook for about one more minute (until the garlic is fragrant).

3

Add ground lamb, baharat spice blend, and a good sprinkle of salt (don't just add salt at the end - adding salt throughout helps build flavor!); cook until completely browned.

4

Stir in flour and cook for one more minute to get rid of 'raw flour' taste.

5

Add beef broth and worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to thicken the sauce. Taste. Add more salt (if needed) and a generous helping of freshly cracked pepper.

6

Remove the lamb sauce from the heat, stir in the yogurt. Taste. Add salt, pepper, or more worcestershire sauce to taste.

7

Serve over cooked egg noodles, and top with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Notes

You can buy baharat (sometimes called Seven Spice Blend) at any grocery with a good selection of Middle Eastern ingredients, or you can make your own blend with readily available spices using this recipe. If you make your own, I would dial back the baharat to two teaspoons first, and then taste before adding the third teaspoon. Freshly ground spices always pack a more powerful punch!

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