Boeuf Ogarkov

Marshal Nikolai V. Ogarkov was a sour-pussed Russian of the old guard and Chief of Staff of the Soviet Army around the time that I first entered the defense world. Ah! the good old days of grumpy old Russian generals with big frowns and even bigger eyebrows. I miss him. I named this version of Beef Stroganov in his honor.


  • 1 lb of Beef, Chunked
  • 1-8 oz Tub of Sour Cream
  • 2-15 oz Cans of Diced Tomatoes with Italian Herbs (Del Monte, Hunts, etc.)
  • Egg Noodles
  • Sliced Fresh Portobello Mushrooms
  • 1 Medium Yellow or White Onion, Chopped
  • Sherry or Marsala Wine
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Chopped or Minced Garlic
  • Marjoram
  • Thyme
  • Black Pepper
  • Tarragon
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • The Method:

    Saute the fresh mushrooms, fresh chopped or minced garlic and chopped onion in a skillet with a little olive oil until the mushrooms are tender and the onions or garlic are lightly browned. I find that a splash of sherry or marsala adds a fabulous flavor. Doing this produces more flavor than just tossing the mushrooms and onion into the mix at the end and boiling it. Exercise restraint on the garlic. You can chop your own or buy the fresh stuff in the produce section in a little jar. Avoid dried powdered garlic and never use "garlic salt"!

    Use decent meat. Flank steak will work, but is tough. Stew meat is fine, but may be stringy. Chop the beef into chunks and brown it in the sauted mushrooms and onions on medium heat, stirring constantly to an even doneness. Some people prefer ground beef, but I think this has a better character.

    Combine the browned meat, onion and mushrooms with the sour cream and diced tomatoes.

    Liberally dust the sauce with marjoram and thyme. Add a dash of black pepper. Tarragon is an underappreciated herb. It is a pungeunt bitter herb but it will give a wonderful distinctive note to your sauce in strict moderation. I like a shot of Worcestershire sauce to give it a subtle sweetening and a note of complexity with the tamarind and orange peel.

    Some philosphy is in order here. Don't let the mere fact that you detest garlic or that you have no mushrooms on hand stop you from making this or some other recipe. I made this last night and was in such haste that I forgot to add garlic, marjoram, thyme, tarragon or even to buy any mushrooms. It was still delicious! Great food need not follow a strict formula, which is one reason why I do not put specific measures on these pages. Cook with your soul! Be fearless!

    Simmer on low heat (covered) for as long as you can stand it. It only improves with simmering as the flavors develop. Also if you overcooked the meat or were forced to use rather tough cuts, then long simmering will eventually make them tender. Be sure to keep the heat low and to stir occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning.

    Serve over egg noodles. A mixed green salad with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, sharp red onion, a little crumbled blue cheese and an Italian vinaigrette dressing or else a caesar salad seems a perfect side dish. You might also try a side of steamed zucchini or yellow squash or some green vegetable. I like a merlot, pinot noir or cabernet.

    "Za vashe zdorov'ye, Nikolai Vasilievich! Wherever you may be."
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