Quorn and mushroom stroganoff with tarragon and tagliatelle


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You know, I am not entirely sure about the origins of stroganoff, that ‘classic’ Russian dish. If you look into its origins, as I have after leafing through my encyclopedic Larousse Gastronomique, the story seems plausible enough. Back in the 18th century, there was this rich family of merchants and financiers called the Stroganovs, who wandered amongst the elite within Russian society, rubbing shoulders with nobility and whatnot. And one of them employed a French chef, who one day stumbled upon this wonderful combination of thinly sliced beef, thinly sliced onions, thinly sliced mushrooms and lashings of sour cream.

Such was the success of this dish, a member of the Stroganovs named themselves after it, so that it may live on in perpetuity and as tribute to the family. It could, by all accounts, have been Alexander Grigorievich Stroganoff of Odessa. Or perhaps it was Count Pavel Stroganov from Novgorod. Some say that it was Vladivar Stroganoff, who set up a successful trading post in the Netherlands. Which leads me to the problem. There are far too many vagaries to the tale and far too many people laying claim to this recipe. It is the culinary equivalent of “I AM SPARTICUS!” and as such, I would say that any stories you might hear about stroganoff should be taken with a pinch of paprika. Especially since I just made up the one about Vladivar.

Perhaps we shouldn’t worry too much about the provenance of this dish though and simply get on with the business of enjoying it, because for such a simple premise, stroganoff packs one hell of a punch. Warm, comforting and indulgent, this is the sort of plate that you associate on a cold, blustery day. However, in a nod to its universal nature, I would say that it goes down equally well in summer. Particularly this light and healthy version, using Quorn steak strips, instead of beef. There is a twist with this, in that I like to throw tarragon into the mix, to add a delicate aniseed touch. It really does lift the overall flavour and compliments the sweet spice.

That I have served it with tagliatelle here might rustle a couple of feathers. Most people serve up stroganoff with rice but this alternative carb goes well, as the sauce clings nicely to the ribbons of pasta.




Place a large pan on the hob over a medium heat, add a good splash of oil and throw in the onion. Gently sauté for 10 minutes and then add the garlic, mushrooms and paprika. Cook through for another 10 minutes so that the everything is sweet and soft and remove from the pan, setting to one side in a bowl
chopped mushrooms
Add a touch more oil to the pan and then add the Quorn steak strips, frying them off quickly so that they begin to crisp and brown. Again, this takes about 10 minutes
Place the softened vegetables and mushrooms back into the pan, adding the Dijon mustard, stock and cream and mix gently to incorporate it all together. Season with salt and pepper, quite generously with the pepper, and leave to cook through and thicken for just another 5 minutes
Meanwhile, cook your pasta by bringing some water in a large saucepan up to the boil, place the tagliatelle in and simmer for 8 minutes. When ready, drain
Just before serving, scatter the tarragon over the stroganoff and gently stir in and leave for a minute or so. Divide the pasta between four bowls or plates and spoon a helping of stroganoff on top. Finish with an extra sprinkling of tarragon if you’ve got some spare
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