Elisha Cook Jr’s Beef Stroganoff “Black Bird” vs Harry Morgan’s Stroganoff with Vincent Price’s Pimento Rice

I am a big fan of stroganoff as it is quick and easy to make on a weeknight and feels like a BIG TREAT.  I have made two movie star versions recently – both destined for the Vincent Price Co*Star cookbook.  They were both delicious (although not very photogenic) but I think in the taste stakes, Harry’s pips Elisha’s.  It’s the wine I am guessing…

First Elisha’s – his secret ingredient is Angostura bitters which did give it a certain something… I think the “Black Bird” reference in the recipe title relates to a movie Elisha appears in with George Segal.

From what I can glean from the interwebs this is a spoof of The Maltese Falcon and Elisha cops it in a restaurant, ending up with his face in a plate of stroganoff.  What a way to go.

Elisha Cook Jr’s Beef Stroganoff “Black Bird”

2 lbs top round steak
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 and 1/2 cups water
1 can (4 oz) mushrooms with liquid
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons Angostura aromatic bitters
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups dairy sour cream

With a very sharp knife, cut beef across the grain into narrow 2-inch strips. Salt and pepper meat on both sides and quickly brown it in hot butter in a skillet or Dutch oven. Add water, mushrooms with liquid, onion and Angostura bitters. Cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally. Add additional water sparingly, if necessary, during cooking.

Make a paste with flour, using 2 tablespoons of pot liquid. Add paste slowly to meat mixture, stirring constantly to prevent lumping. Simmer until gravy is thick. Reduce heat to lowest possible level. Stir in sour cream and heat thoroughly, but do not boil, or sauce will curdle. Remove to chafing dish. Serve alone or with hot, cooked noodles.

This recipe features in Johnna Blinn’s Celebrity Cookbook and she suggests serving with green beans, which as you can see, I did!

I like Harry’s tip for finding the grain of the steak, this bit of recipes always stumps me a bit…

Harry Morgan’s Stroganoff

2 1/2 lbs lean sirloin steak

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup butter

1 lb fresh mushrooms, washed, dried, sliced

3/4 cup burgundy wine (more if needed)

2 cups sour cream (approximately)

Hot cooked rice or buttered noodles

Fresh parsley, finely chopped, for garnish

Trim any fat from the beef and stretch slightly so you can see which way the grain runs.  Cut into thin strips across the grain, then cut again in to 2-inch strips.  In a paper bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper then coat the steak with the flour by popping into the bag and moving around.  Shake off any excess flour.  

Melt the butter in a large skillet/frying pan and brown the meat well.  Remove from the skillet and place to one side, add the mushrooms to the skillet, cooking over a medium heat until golden.  Return the steak to the centre of the skillet.  Add the burgundy, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the steak is tender.  Add sour cream, heat to serve but do not boil.

Serve over rice or noodles, garnished with parsley. 

Serves 5 to 8

I made half Harry’s recipe and this made 3 hearty portions.  Vincent Price has a recipe for Stroganoff too, which I will try at some point.  It’s in the Cooking Price-Wise book and he suggests serving it with Pimento Rice.

So I figured this would be a good accompaniment to Harry’s Stroganoff which indeed it was.  It reminded me a bit of something I used to love when I was a student.

Vincent Price’s Pimento Rice

8 oz long-grain rice

1 pint chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

1 oz butter

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons diced pimento / red bell pepper

Combine stock, rice, butter and salt.  Heat to boiling, stir once, cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender.  Add parsley and pimento.  Toss lightly.

Serves 4

Stroganoff and rice.  Easy peasy and very delicious.  Especially with some of my new cupboard staple Brussels Sprout Dust on my sprouts!

4 Responses to Elisha Cook Jr’s Beef Stroganoff “Black Bird” vs Harry Morgan’s Stroganoff with Vincent Price’s Pimento Rice

  1. Greg 18 Nov, 2018 at 10:39 am #

    Add Natalie Wood’s Beef Stroganoff to your list…I think it might even trump Harry Morgan’s with the addition of a buttload of caramelized onions with the wine. It’s a favorite of mine (even if I do replace the beef with Halloumi cheese).

    I consulted the Oracle of Bacon…Natalie and Vincent never seemed to have appeared together (too bad), but have a Bacon number of 2 (many, many times over).

    Stroganoff, I’ve decided, is one of the most impossibly, unphotogenic of all dishes… Your’s look quite tasty though!

    • Jenny 22 Nov, 2018 at 2:03 pm #

      Oooh, yes, I’ll definitely try Natalie’s stroganoff as I love a buttload of caramalized onions with ANYTHING. Mmmmmmm!

      I am going to do some fiddling around with the Oracle of Bacon! Never seen it before and it looks fun.

      I hosted a two day food photography workshop at my flat this weekend so will try and put some of what I learned into practice when i next make a stroganoff – watch this space…

  2. Hazel 18 Nov, 2018 at 4:50 pm #

    I’d choose Harry Morgan’s recipe just because I love MASH Nothing to do with the wine…

  3. Jenny 22 Nov, 2018 at 2:04 pm #

    I love MASH too. Harry is brilliant in that. I love all the scenes involving making martinis…

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