Creamy, protein-filled sauce poured over noodles or rice? It’s a universal favorite at our house. And this is hands down the easiest version ever, because it’s made with frozen meatballs instead of stew meat or hamburger. Even your pickiest eaters will want to gobble this right up. (Even if there are a few mushrooms pushed to the side — you can’t win them all.) I’m confident you’ll declare this recipe a winner.
Usually stroganoff includes buttered noodles or homemade spaetzle or even rice. And a perfect side dish to pair it with is braised red cabbage — find the simple recipe in the notes below in case you want to make it too.
Okay, so let’s get into how easy it is to make this meatball stroganoff!
If you can make gravy, you can make this. It’s nothing more than cooking onions and mushrooms in butter until they’re nice and brown, removing them temporarily, making a simple roux (butter and flour), whisking in some beef broth, and adding everything back into the pot. It takes maybe 20-25 minutes tops.
A combo of white and cremini mushrooms is great for stroganoff. Or you could use the big portobellos. It’s kind of whatever you have or looks good at the market. It would also be excellent with some wild mushrooms added in.
Mushrooms have a lot of water in them. The key to get them to brown nicely is to help them release that liquid by seasoning them with a little salt as they cook. The liquid will then evaporate and you’ll end up with that delicious dark brown fond on the bottom of the pan. Fond = mega flavor.
Don’t worry, all that brown stuff will melt into the gravy once the broth is added.
The meatballs cook in the gravy and kind of absorb those yummy mushroom and onion flavors as they simmer. You can add fresh thyme too. Oh, it just makes the whole house smell amazing!
Probably the best part is the sour cream. It adds a wonderful tang and creaminess. You can add as little or as much as you like. 1/2 to 3/4 cup is a good amount, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little extra dollop on top.
And that’s it! In a fraction of the time you can have stroganoff, albeit not very traditional, but just as tasty.
Meatball Stroganoff with Egg Noodles — Easy Recipe
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large onion, diced
1 pound mushrooms (white button or cremini), sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups beef broth
1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
One (24 ounce) package frozen meatballs
1 cup sour cream, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
Hot, buttered egg noodles, spaetzle, or rice
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
1. In a Dutch oven or large 5-6 quart saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and let cook, stirring often, until it starts to soften, about 3-5 minutes.
2. Add the mushrooms and season with a little salt. Saute, stirring often, allowing the mushrooms and onions to brown nicely. Remove the onions and mushrooms from the pan. Set aside and keep warm.
3. To the pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and melt. When foaming subsides, add the flour and stir well. Cook the flour, stirring constantly, for 30-60 seconds. Add beef broth. Whisk well to remove any lumps.
4. Bring gravy to a simmer. Add the thyme sprigs to the pan along with the reserved onions and mushrooms.
5. Add the frozen meatballs to the pan. Stir to coat with the sauce. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until meatballs are heated through. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent the sauce from burning on the bottom of the pan.
6. Once meatballs have cooked through, stir in 1/2 to 3/4 sour cream, depending on preference. Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Spoon the meatballs and sauce over hot noodles, spaetzle, or rice, with remaining sour cream on the side.
Yield: 4-6 servings
– For a richer flavor, substitute 1/4 to 1/2 cup red wine for some of the beef broth and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes before adding the meatballs.
– Try the mini meatballs from Trader Joe’s or the ones from IKEA. They tend to have a milder flavor than the frozen Italian meatballs, and work better for this recipe.
– To make braised red cabbage: cut a large red cabbage into quarters and remove the hard white core. Slice each quarter into thin ribbons. Melt 2-4 tablespoons butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Add the cabbage along with 2-3 tablespoons sugar (white or brown), 3 tablespoons apple cider or red wine vinegar, a pinch of ground cloves, a good sprinkle of salt, and a pinch of caraway seeds. Cover and let it cook over medium-low heat for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 1/2 hours until the cabbage is very tender.
Credits: Recipe and photos by Lindsey Rose Johnson for Design Mom.