From thru-hiker forums to the halls of REI, it’s a well known among backpackers that beef stroganoff is one of the best tasting dehydrated “meals in a bag” on the market. It’s warming, filling, and loaded with big savory, umami flavors. When we go backpacking and don’t feel like cooking, nine times out of ten we’ll pick up a bag of stroganoff. We’ve even done a few multi-day hikes where we ate stroganoff every other night. It’s just that good.
But what about car campers? Eating a dehydrated meal seems a little silly in the front country, but making traditional beef stroganoff is too much of a project at a campground. What if there was a streamlined, simplified beef stroganoff that had all the flavor of fresh ingredients, but also wasn’t a total hassle? Is there a way to make it into a one pot dish? We endeavored to find out.
We did a lot of research beforehand and tested different versions, both in a kitchen as well as out in the field. Our goal was to keep the flavors while removing any non-essential elements. We tried a couple different types of steaks (ribeye, flank, strip steak), tinkered with the egg noodle to water/broth ratio, and tested to find just the right amount of soy sauce and sour cream. It was one of our more extensive (and delicious) recipe development processes.
In the end, we came out with a one pot beef stroganoff that’s worth every single second it takes to prepare. While it definitely takes more time and energy to prepare than pouring hot water into a dehydrated packet, we guarantee you that the flavors you get are so so so worth it.
We made this entire meal using a 10” Lodge Cast Iron skillet and one steel enamelware plate (to rest the meat after cooking). Because after a hearty meal like this, there’s no better dessert than realizing there are only a couple dishes to wash. (Actually that’s a lie, we want chocolate for dessert, but we’ll take minimal dishwashing whenever we can.)
1/2poundstrip steak, sliced into bite sized pieces
1small brown onion, diced
½lbwide egg noodles
½cupfull fat sour cream, divided
Quarter the mushrooms and dice the onion.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed 10” skillet until smoking hot. Salt the strip steak. Add the steak to the skillet and cook, until browned on both sides and cooked through. Remove from the skillet, tent with foil, and allow it to rest while preparing the vegetables and noodles.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the mushrooms and saute 5 minutes, stirring infrequently. Add the onions and continue to saute an additional 5 minutes.
Add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Use a wooden spoon or a spatula to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the skillet. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook according to package instructions (this will depend on the noodles you buy - ours took 8 minutes), stirring occasionally to ensure the noodles cook evenly.
Once the noodles are tender, remove skillet from heat. Temper half the sour cream with some of the sauce by adding a few spoonfuls of broth to the sour cream and stirring - this will raise the temperature of the sour cream and help prevent it from curdling when added to the pan. Mix the tempered sour cream to the pan, stir, then add the rest of the sour cream and stir to combine.
Slice the cooked steak into bite-sized pieces, add to skillet, season to taste and serve!