Stroganoff with Pickled Cucumbers & Honey

This is my mother’s friend Ritva’s recipe. It is pleasantly unusual in flavour — strong and wintery. Use the saltier variety of pickled cucumbers rather than the very sweet and sour ones. You don’t need much else with this: serve with some boiled, mashed or sautéed potatoes, noodles or rice.

Ingredients

  • 40 g ( oz) butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 850 g (1 lb 14 oz) lean chuck steak, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 120 g ( oz) pickled cucumbers, drained and chopped
  • 250 g (1 cup) sour cream

Method

Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Heat the butter and oil in a casserole dish that can go in the oven and on the stovetop. Fry the onions for 3–4 minutes until they soften a bit, then add the meat. Cook over high heat until it begins to brown, taking care though that the onions don’t burn. Season with salt and the pepper, then add the paprika, bay leaf and honey and mix through. Add 750 ml (3 cups) of water, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for about 2 hours. Stir a couple of times while it is cooking, checking that there is still quite a lot of liquid.

Remove from the oven and put on the stovetop over very low heat. Put the flour in a bowl and whisk in a ladleful of the hot pan juices, whisking until smooth. Add another ladleful, whisking again before you tip it all back into the casserole dish and add the cucumbers. Stir while it comes to the boil and then cook for another couple of minutes. Add the sour cream, heat through and serve immediately.