Yesterday we cooked and served a meal at FOCUS, an Orthodox organization which provides a Sunday supper to those in need in our community. We had to provide 150 servings. Cooking for a crowd is always a challenge but somehow we always manage. This time we served beef stroganoff, salad, bread, and desserts.
We made the beef stroganoff in our own parish kitchen since it is larger than the kitchen at the church where we serve the meal. We started cooking at noon and were ready on time at 3pm to pack up and take the meal to the basement of the Orthodox church.
Fr. Patrick always does an orientation before we start serving. One of the things he reminded us of this time is that program is a ministry to us, so we can meet and serve Jesus by interacting with those on the margins. We are grateful for this opportunity. There is really only one place in the gospel where Jesus clearly states the difference between those who go to heaven and those who do not:
Then the King will say to those on his right hand, Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.Matthew 25:34-36
And even more that that, this program puts my heart back the way it should be. It removes that smallness of thinking which makes me think I have earned what is mine and I deserve more than others. And I get to do this with family and friends whose company I enjoy. It reminds me that everything I have in this life is a gift and there is joy in sharing it.
So here is the recipe. We served this with a salad made from 6 5lb bags of salad mix (yes 30 lbs) , a food service sized tub of creamy garlic dressing, grated cheese, and croutons. (We accidentally bought little individual bags of croutons instead of the big bag we could dump in the salad. Oops!) We also served sliced bread. And some of our parishioners provided desserts for us to take also, in fact so many that there were leftovers which FOCUS froze for later.
Beef Stroganoff for a Crowd
- 40 pounds ground beef or stew beef cut into bite sized pieces
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 5 teaspoons garlic powder
- 20 bay leaves
- 5 cups butter
- 5 lbs onions (we used a food service bag of pre-cut onions)
- 5 lbs mushrooms, sliced
- 2 ½ cups red wine
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 40 cups beef broth (320 oz)
- ¾ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 120 cups dried egg noodles
- 14 cups sour cream
- Dried parsley, to top
- 15 cups grated Italian cheese blend
- Toss the meat with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, bay leaves, and Worcestershire. Divide between 6 to 8 shallow oven pans.
- Bake meat in convection oven at 300 degrees for 1 hour or until tender. Stir frequently. Add liquid if it starts to dry out.
- Melt 1 cup of the butter in a large pan and reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and cook until the onions are soft and nearly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add in the mushrooms, and saute until the mushrooms are soft and slightly browned and the onions have caramelized, about 5 more minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the red wine, being sure to scrape up all of the browned bits. Add 3 cups of the butter and melt. Sprinkle with the flour and stir to combine. Gradually stir in the beef broth sauce and bring to a low simmer. Mix the onions and mushrooms in and let simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 8 minutes.
- Cook the the egg noodles in batches for about 3 minutes less than the package directions recommend. They will be firm and undercooked. Drain and divide between 4 deep pans. Immediately add some of the remaining butter, mushroom onion sauce, sour cream, and meat. Stir to coat. Do not let the egg noodles sit uncoated or they will become sticky.
- Top with dried parsley. Keep warm in a 350 degree oven. (After everything was ready, we put the food in insulated carriers and drove to the church where we were serving and put it in the ovens there.)
- Before serving, stir in some of the cheese blend.