Fusion cuisine, the combining of two or more culinary traditions, has become quite popular worldwide over the past couple of decades, particularly in culturally diverse and large metropolitan settings.
Many believe it was started in the 1980s and ’90s, when the public was introduced to creations such as buffalo chicken spring rolls, grits with butter and soy sauce and sautéed foie gras with caramelized mango and ginger sauce.
But the fusion food movement isn’t new. It has been around a long time, probably dating back to the beginning of trade. Perhaps that is why most well-known chefs detest the term, knowing full well that combining the flavors of one cuisine with the cooking techniques of another is as old as the hills.
Regardless of how your feel about the term and the origin of that type of food, I’m a fan. But I don’t often get a chance to sample the tasty fare like people living in Minneapolis, New York or Los Angeles do. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to create my own type of meals that combine two or more cuisines.
While not exactly fusion food, a recent meal we had blended an entree that has its origins in Russia and one with its roots more than likely in Germany.
The Stroganoff, which I made, features sautéed pieces of thinly sliced beef served in a sauce with sour cream and served over noodles. It supposedly was created by a French chef who worked for a wealthy St. Petersburg family (Stroganov) and created the dish for a cooking contest in 1891.
The other dish, one of Therese’s creations, smacks of German influence with its combination of cabbage, vinegar, bacon and sugar with some green beans thrown in for good measure.
Move over Wolfgang Puck and Danny Chang.
2 pounds beef or venison round steak cut into thin strips (see note)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 large onion sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
¼ cup flour
2 cups beef broth
¼ white wine
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
½ cup sour cream
10 ounces cooked egg noodles
Slice meat across the grain into thin strips. Salt and pepper to taste. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the meat until browned on all sides. Remove from pan to a plate and set aside. Deglaze pan with wine, reserving liquid. Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet. Cook the mushrooms, onions and garlic until tender. Sprinkle the flour over the cooked vegetables in the skillet and stir for 1 minute. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the beef broth slowly. Allow the broth mixture to come to a simmer and thicken. Once the mixture has thickened, stir in the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, paprika and sour cream. Stir in the reserved strips of beef and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Serve over hot cooked egg noodles.
Note: You can use ground beef instead of the steak for this recipe.
Yield: Serves 6.
Note; Can substitute venison, elk or bison for beef.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 427 calories, 20 grams carbohydrates, 40 grams protein, 20 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 138 milligrams cholesterol, 648 milligrams sodium, 794 milligrams potassium, 1 gram fiber.
Green Beans and German Cabbage
3 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup vinegar
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons chopped onion
3 cups shredded cabbage
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed, snapped and steamed or 1-pound can beans
Cook bacon in skillet until crisp. Remove bacon; drain on absorbent paper. Add vinegar, sugar, onion, cabbage, salt and pepper to remaining fat in skillet. Cover; simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon into serving dishes; top with bacon.