A few weeks ago, I went to Magnolia Market with some long-time friends. I ended up picking up both volumes of the Magnolia Table cookbooks by Joanna Gaines. I thought I would try a few recipes and share my results for you all!
I would like to start by saying that my cooking skills are average. I’ve watched enough Alton Brown and Food Network over the years that I am confident in the most basic cooking and baking skills. I can follow a recipe pretty easily. I’ve also gained enough experience through cooking to identify when a recipe might not turn out the way I want it to if I follow it exactly.
I do not believe in publishing someone else’s recipes, even for the sake of reviewing it. I feel it is completely unethical to take someone’s hard work that they successfully published, and give it out for free. Instead, my recipe reviews will list just the basic ingredients so you can get an idea of what you need to make the dish, and a basic description of the method. If, after reading my review, you feel like you want to give it a try, please consider purchasing the cookbook.
- heavy cream
- sour cream
- garlic powder
- Worcestershire sauce
- cream cheese
- beef broth
- egg noodles
- yellow onions
- beef top sirloin
- salt and pepper
As you can see, there really is nothing out of the ordinary. This is why the Magnolia Table cookbooks appealed to me. More often than not, when I browse a cookbook, I am irritated at how many recipes are not every day recipes that a normal, full-time working parent can churn out. These are the basic ingredients you will find in most stroganoff recipes. You should be able to find everything in your local grocery store. The one ingredient that I have not used in my own version of stroganoff is the cream cheese, but I love cream cheese, so no issues there!
This recipe is made with top sirloin and calls for the sirloin to be cubed in 1-2 inch portions. If you’re like me, you probably make stroganoff with ground beef because it cooks quickly.
My intent was to cook the recipe as written, but I am going to be “one of those people” and admit that I did alter two steps of her method. I read the recipe over and over and over, and my years of cooking experience told me, “If you don’t cook that sirloin on low heat for longer than what her recipe calls for, your steak is going to be tough as leather…”
So, I committed the cardinal sin and altered her recipe.
Sin #1: If you’ve ever cooked with top sirloin, it is a pretty tough cut of steak. The original recipe doesn’t call for any simmering of the top sirloin at all. I think the original recipe is meant to be a quick meal you can throw together under an hour. The method does have you coat and sear the cubes of meat. I used a enameled cast-iron braising pan with a lid. Do yourself a favor. After searing the cubes of sirloin, deglaze the pan with your beef broth, cover your pan, turn the heat to low, and allow the sirloin to simmer for an hour. You will thank me! This does not alter her method all that much. Once you have simmered, you can remove the sirloin to a plate, and pour your broth into a measuring cup. I did not lose very much of the measured amount of broth. If you do, you can just top back up to the amount called for in the recipe. At that point, I was able to continue with the recipe’s method without any issue.
Sin #2: The first step in her method is to cook the noodles and set them aside. I, instead, finished the sauce, allowed it to continue to simmer, and then cooked the noodles after the sauce was complete. This is just a preferential thing. I want my noodles to be hot. I don’t feel this alters the original method. It’s just a timing preference.
Beyond those two little steps to ensure tender cubes of sirloin and fresh, hot noodles, I followed the recipe and this was the result:
Despite its very basic ingredients and method, it is a very solid stroganoff recipe. My family absolutely loved it and I will most definitely add this to my normal rotation. The cream cheese really gives it that rich, homemade flavor. The amount of sour cream that the recipe calls for was perfect for me. Sometimes, putting too much sour cream in the stroganoff ruins it for me. The amount of flour she calls for is also perfect. The sauce thickened up just right.
My method alterations did increase the overall cooking time, but I feel the simmering of the top sirloin is what made that cut of meat edible. If you follow the recipe to the letter, let me know if your sirloin turned out tough in the comments. If I can save myself an hour, I will!
Lets talk about seasoning. For those of you who really love a bitey stroganoff, you will probably need to add more Worcestershire. The great thing about this recipe is I thought the flavor was fine as is. Just do yourself a favor and make sure you are sampling at each step to adjust seasonings to your taste. That is the beauty of cooking. I think her recipe is definitely a good starting point!
You can pick up a copy of her cookbooks from most major retailers. It is currently $20.98 on Amazon. Have you tried any of the recipes from Magnolia Table cookbooks? Let me know which is your favorite in the comments!