Bento Adventures in Beef Stroganoff

Kao’s cooking with sour cream experiments continue (see Chicken & Mushrooms in Sour Cream), this time with a classic beef dish that claims to have roots from Russia, Beef Stroganoff. From as early as the 18th century, this dish has stood the test of time, having many permuations, from ones with mustard, to a Brazilian strain with tomatoes. Still, one thing remains constant—let there be Sour Cream!

I compared various recipes online but since a lot of them was for family sized servings, I decided to wing it, feeling brave after the previous experiment. Total success, served on top of mashed potatoes, even better. I plan to try this out again, next time with pasta, or maybe with rice. Either way, it looks like it will become a mealtime regular since I really feel like I struck gold with this. See? Even the photography conditions agreed with me!

Beef Stroganoff Bento

Bento #139 • 3 July 2007

• Smoked Salmon and Cream cheese rolls. Since we were out of romaine, I substituted iceberg lettuce. Not a good idea. Since iceberg lettuce is crisper, it was harder to roll and kept trying to unravel. Even the green onions refused to cooperate by staying put, probably because the lettuce was pushing against the onion ties.

• Apple quarters

• Cherry tomatoes

• Steamed asparagus spears

• Beef Stroganoff over mashed potatoes, for the win! I’m absolutely in love. Even my mom agreed that it’s good for bento. The mashed potatoes stayed fluffy despite sitting in the bento for hours. Tastewise, it was the perfect foil to the flavorful beef and mushrooms. The slight sourness was a nice kick, pleasantly breaking the monotony. Unlike pasta which tends to absorb sauce, the potatoes left the Stroganoff sufficiently sauced until lunchtime. Mmm-mmmm! I was so happy come lunchtime, smiling just like the cat that got the sour cream. 😀

Beef Stroganoff v. 3 July 2007
Serves 2.

100 grams thinly sliced top round, sirloin, or tenderloin
half an onion, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp sherry or cooking wine
3-4 Tbsp sour cream

1. slice the beef into thin strips.
2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a saucepan.
3. Saute the onions until soft, moving them constantly so it won’t burn. When soft, remove onions.
4. Add more butter in pan, then saute mushrooms until browned and done.
5. Add the beef, a few strips at a time.
6. Add salt, pepper, and sherry / cooking wine.
7. Saute until done.
8. Lower heat then add sour cream. Saute a bit more then remove from heat.
9. Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, or whatever starch you like.

Beef Stroganoff Bento

Since the experiment yielded more than one bento serving, and my mom was pretty interested–how could you resist the delicious aroma?–I packed her a bento as well, albeit a slightly smaller one.

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21 Responses to Bento Adventures in Beef Stroganoff

  1. Barbara B says:

    With your stroganoff, you have to try spaetzel. Teeny German dumplings. Very tasty.

    • kaoko says:

      I have to confess, I’ve never heard of spaetzel. Good thing though, there’s google to the rescue. My interest is piqued, will try it soon 😀

      Does this sound like a good recipe version?

      • Beatie says:

        Save yourself the trouble and buy some ready-made spaetzel. The recipe you found sounds relatively simple, but still I’d go for store bought ones. (Maybe it’s my fear of getting batter all over that’s talking..?)

        In my town I buy them at an organic foods store and they actually taste just like fresh made ones. Well, maybe a little chewier.

        And hello, by the way! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now but have never written anything to make my presence noticed. I love your blog

      • kaoko says:

        Thanks for the nice words 😀 Regarding the spaetzel, I’m not sure where I can buy some ready-made. I’m not familiar with any local stores here that specialize in German food. I’d love to try eating something ready-made so I can have something to base cooking on but if I can’t find some, I guess it’s time to experiment. XD So if I disappear from the blogosphere for a long time, you can bet it’s a spaetzel experiment gone wrong XD

  2. lalalady7 says:

    Both bento’s look beautiful!!! the colors are so vibrant. I think this recipe will be tested out in my kitchen soon too my boyfriend loves beef stroganoff and loves it when I experiment with new foods for bento!

  3. lalalady7 says:

    I forgot, do you fridge this bento once you get to work because of the salmon? I was wondering bc if you did put it in the fridge the mash potatoes would be kinda bad but you said they were good, just curious =)

    • kaoko says:

      The salmon was smoked so it was all right to not put in the fridge. The cream cheese turned soft though, but it wasn’t that bad. Important thing was nothing spoiled ^_^;;

      I hope the beef stroganoff passes muster with your stroganoff loving boyfriend though. I mean, I loved it, but it might be different with someone who eats it on a regular basis.

  4. BentoYum says:

    Hmm, I may have to look at your stroganoff recipe. Mine takes about three hours in the oven, so it rarely gets made. (Freezes well though, so leftovers are up for bento grabs.)

    I’ve never thought to put it on mashed potatoes, but it sounds yum. Especially if you’ve got some carmalized onions in there.

    Here in the midwest, we always serve stroganoff on egg noodles.

  5. toni says:

    Please pack my bento too! Hehehe.

  6. jenferfer says:

    Tastes great over rice too.
    Mom makes the 3-hour oven type also, so I may have to give this one a go.

  7. karen says:

    wow kaoko, that looks really nice! i may try this one of these days. i’m kinda in the “i-got-no-time-in-the-morning-stage” so i just make myself a sandwich to go before going to work.

  8. kaoko says:

    @Bentoyum and jenferfer
    3 hours? I had no idea it’s cooked that way, most of the recipes I found was a quick stir-fry affair. Must find a copy of that version, I’d love to compare. And must try on egg noodles as well. 😀

    Say when 😀

    But sandwiches are good too 😀 Today’s lunch is a wrap, which is basically a sandwich dressed fancy 😛

  9. Jecca says:

    Do you re-heat the stroganoff before eating it or do you eat it cold? Do you heat it before packing it in the bento? I’m new to bento and I’m trying to learn all I can!

    • kaoko says:

      Sadly, we don’t have a microwave at work anymore so I couldn’t reheat it. If I could, I would’ve but it was okay eating at room temperature as well. It was freshly cooked when I packed it, along with the mashed potato. I left it uncovered after packing for a few minutes as I showered and did other morning stuff (pack bags, etc) then brought it to work in a thin thermal-lined bag.

      Please ask away, I don’t mind answering questions 😀 As I say, spread the bento love.

  10. Pingback: Beef Stroganoff Bento | bento, restos & recipes at

  11. skysenshi says:

    Hehe. Ang cute ha. Iba kasi ang recipe ko for Beef Stroganoff. Gusto ko i-try to.

    • kaoko says:

      I made the recipe up based on various recipes I surveyed. Since it sounded quick and easy, I figured I’d experiment. Is yours one of the slow-cooked versions? Feed meh!

  12. Pingback: Stroganoff & Gyu Asupara Maki Bento | bento, restos & recipes at

  13. the_spouse says:

    but.. what happens to the onions? are they just used to flavor the butter? if so, what if i substitute some onion powder instead?

    or do you use the onions somewhere else?

    • kaoko says:

      I just throw it away. *admits guiltily* Perhaps you can use it to flavor other dishes as an add-on? I haven’t really tried working with onion powder when I cook but it might be worth a shot. If you try it though, please let me know how it turns out.

      • the_spouse says:

        thanks for answering! i was thinking, maybe my question was too stoopd it didn’t deserve an answer 😉

        *looks down guiltily*

        uh, i used real onions, and, uh, kinda threw mine away as well..

        but, winner recipe, definitely. i’ll try and use the onion powder and let you know how it goes.

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