When I first saw this recipe, I think the first thought in my head was, “That’s brilliant!” Because it was.  It combined so many awesome things:  buttery egg noodles (yum!) and short ribs (more yum!) slathered in a cream sauce (would it be cliched to say yum again?  Because seriously, YUM) to make Beef Stroganoff TO THE MAX!

Then I realized it was inspired by a recipe from Thomas Keller (of French Laundry and Ad Hoc fame), so not only was it likely to be delicious, but it would also involve many steps.  Seriously, read through that recipe.  I would say I would wait while you flip the page to do that, but man it’s long.  Long and with many, many, many steps.

Leslie and I tackled this together one weekend and I can say, having two people was invaluable.  I cannot imagine what I would do if I’d tried to do this one alone.  I think there are ways you could simplify this to get similar results, without having to spend 2 hours actively cooking it (yes, I really think it did take that long but a lot of it is also waiting time).

I think the biggest time-saver would be to choose a different cream sauce.  I’ve made Beef Stroganoff before from one of Gourmet’s recipes, and liked it a lot.  It didn’t involve processing mushrooms and letting cream simmer for 35 minutes or more, which I think chalks up another point in its favor.

In the future, I would probably make a modified version of this.  I would keep the short ribs and the mushrooms and switch out the sauce.  The short ribs are pretty easy since you just stick them in a slow cooker and forget about them until tender.  I absolutely loved the short ribs in this dish (instead of the tenderloin Gourmet recommends), but I also really love short ribs.  If there’s a way to prepare short ribs that I don’t like, I haven’t found it yet.

As for the mushrooms, if you let them get golden brown the way the recipe indicates, are out of this world!  I really felt we should have doubled the mushrooms we sautéed, which might be why I am so indifferent to the sauce – it took a long time AND we didn’t get to have as many yummy golden-brown mushrooms because of it!

Also, don’t do what I did.  I was pretty tired by the end of the recipe and blindly dumped noodles and sauce together before mixing it up.  When I finished mixing, I realized that the noodles were a bit dry, either because the ratio was off or because I just like really saucy noodles.  Next time, I will definitely be more careful.  I think this step is probably pretty obvious, but I always seem to forget it, so it’s a good reminder for me.  If I type out, “Be careful how you mix foods together!” 100 times, do you think I’ll finally do it?

So there!  My very first Thomas Keller recipe.  It was a doozy:  lots of steps, lots of dirty dishes but a very delicious final result eaten together with good friends.  Overall, a good way to spend a Sunday.  :)

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