Steak and Spinach/Kale Stroganoff _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Steak and Spinach/Kale Stroganoff

Stroganoff is an old slow-cooking favorite, but an update just might be in order, even if it’s a small one.

The sauce and the beef is what makes a good old-fashioned stroganoff, but changing the sauce adds a twist, as does adding something new, such as kale, spinach or a mixture of the two.

Round steak is still a good beef for stroganoff, as it is with many slow-cooked dishes. It’s lean and tough, which is the slow cooker’s specialty. The method is particularly good for tenderizing tougher, less expensive cuts of beef.

Add a kale/spinach mixture near the end of cooking time. It does not need the entire eight hours required for the meat. That’s a lesson I learned over years of slow-cooking. While it is not encouraged to remove the lid during the cooking process, it can be done once or twice if it needs to be. Adding fresh or semi-frozen veggies is one of those times.

While onions or bell peppers are part of the seasoning and should cook with the other ingredients, some vegetables can be added in the last hour or two of cooking. In fact, that pop of taste is an enhancement for most recipes.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at