Meatball Stroganoff; old cookbooks

One of our teachers at French school grew up on a farm. Her father was a butcher. We were discussing the differences in beef between the U.S. and France. Mon mari explained the concept of ‘ageing beef’.

She was absolutely disgusted by the thought.

French beef is not (usually) aged.

The French will happily eat tongues and tails and intestines and brains and feet and blood sausages but the thought of aged beef is off-putting.

Thus I have learned that meatballs make a great substitute for cuts like flank steak in Beef Stroganoff.

Or almost any other dish requiring quick-cooking, tender beef.

Meatball Stroganoff

Total time: 45 minutes


  • Meatballs:
  • 12oz (360gr) ground beef
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Sauce:
  • 1 medium onion, vertically sliced, thickly
  • 4oz (120gr) mushrooms, trimmed, sliced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) beef broth
  • 1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 cup (4oz, 120gr) Greek or plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tbs cornstarch (corn flour, maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs water

Meatball Stroganoff


  • Meatballs:
  • In medium bowl lightly beat the egg with a fork.
  •  Add breadcrumbs, milk, mustard, Worcestershire, paprika, garlic, herbs and mix well.
  •  Add beef and mix well.
  • Form into meatballs, about 1″ (2.5cm) in diameter. You should have about 16. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 tbs oil in large nonstick skillet. Add paprika, onions and sauté for 5 minutes. 
  • Add mushrooms and continue to sauté until onions are tender, about 10 minutes longer.
  • Remove to a plate.
  • Sauce:
  • Heat beef broth in the skillet.
  • When simmering, add the meatballs, cover and cook until done, about 10 minutes.
  • Add onions, mushrooms, thyme and mustard to the skillet, stir, cover and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Add cornstarch mixture, stirring until thick. 
  • Remove from heat, add yogurt, stir thoroughly.
  • Serve over brown rice, Basmati or pasta

Print Recipe

I started the spring cleaning.

Since any sort of cleaning is on my list of ‘most hated things to do’, I have learned to do it in easy stages….Otherwise I get irritated with the whole process and put it off for another year.

Since it’s still cold and rainy here I started with the insides of cabinet and the bookshelves.

Okay, I’ll be honest… I started with the bookshelves and have been having such fun I haven’t gotten around to anything else.

As I was paging through one of my cookbooks I found an interesting chicken recipe….

It started:

Pluck and draw the chicken. Remove the feet.

I suppose the actual first step was to kill the chicken but the author apparently assumed that one would have already done that step.

Sadly, there were no details as to how to pluck and draw the chicken…. Think of the step-by-step photos that could be on one of today’s food blogs!

Going to the opposite end of the ‘from-scratch’ (ahem) cuisine, I found a great recipe for Lemon Chicken to be done in my ‘Crockery Cooker’. Apparently that was a generic name for the Crock-pot, aka slow cooker.

One of the ingredients was a ‘6oz can of frozen lemonade’.


Another recipe called for 1 can of cheddar cheese soup, 1 can of boiled onions and 1 can of mushrooms.

Remember, this was all to be done in the slow cooker.

It’s kind of like driving past an accident, (or reading about U.S. politics)….

I didn’t really want to read further but I couldn’t help myself.

I know that a lot of these recipes were written to use the convenience foods that were new and innovative at the time.

But canned, boiled onions?

I kept both books.

Last update on March 28, 2018

6 thoughts on “Meatball Stroganoff; old cookbooks”

  1. Stroganoff was the first thing I ever cooked. It was fun. Long before slow cookers but yes there were all those “convenience” “foods”. Crazy to think about now.
    The contrast between the oldest using from stratch to later convenience foods, now were closer to from scratch again.

    • I remember the first frozen TV dinners (we were a little slow to this modern stuff in my little town) My mother rarely bought fresh vegetable – only carrots. In summer we grew them in winter it was canned lol

  2. I always make my stroganoff with meatballs. I just like it better that way.

    I have an old Romanian cookbook, held together by string, that’s similar in instructions to the first cookbook you mentioned. I also have a kosher cookbook, held together by a ribbon, with the same types of instructions but more detail because…kosher. I actually have four or five really old cookbooks like that and use them often. Then there’s the one for my InstantPot, a modern crockpot/pressure cooker thing, that I’ve had well over a year and used twice… :/

    • I think the old ones are more interesting. I have some really old ones that get into all aspects of ‘housewife’ duties. They’re a hoot!
      We love meatballs..

  3. Canned boiled onions?! Ewwwwwww!

    (I’d keep the books too. I stole one from Mum’s shelves years ago, specifically for the “tips for brides” in the bottom margins. I now have Mum’s highschool cookbook too. It has a detailed section on how to sweep the kitchen.)

    • Oh, I could use that! I’ve never mastered sweeping! I do remember reading somewhere that one should always scrub floors on hands and knees as it was very good for, er, cramps. Gotta love those old tomes!
      And remember to always freshen your lipstick to greet your husband when he comes home after a hard day at the office!

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