The Fast Supper — John Robert Hill’s quick and versatile recipe for stroganoff

It’s six o’clock. Do you know where your dinner is?

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John Robert Hill shows off his favorite beef stroganoff recipe. — Photo by Michael Cummo

Even in the slow season, many of us have frantic days where eating is almost an afterthought. If we have more than ourselves to feed, it can become a source of stress in itself. So how do we provide healthy meals for ourselves and our families in limited time, without sacrificing health benefits, eye appeal, and flavor? In this ongoing series, Islanders share their quick, go-to recipes. If you have one you’d like to share, please send it to us at calendar@mvtimes.com.

There’s one in every family — a gluten-free, a vegan, a vegetarian, a salt-free, a carb-free. So what do you do for dinner guests with special dietary restrictions? You could make sure that there is at least one dish that suits them. You could invite them to bring their own food. Or you could leave them out altogether.

John Robert Hill, general manager of The Newes From America in Edgartown, accommodates. He has a vegetarian niece who is a valued part of the weekly dinners that have become almost ritual in John’s extended family.

His go-to recipe, Simple Beef Stroganoff, can be doctored. He explains, “I make a vegan version with fake meat and fake sour cream. I use rice instead of egg noodles.” And because they are quick and easy, both versions are ideal for him to pull together in the small window between work and the gathering.

The more traditional recipe is adapted from one passed down from John’s father. “My parents had a catering company,” John says. “Essentially, I’ve been around food service all my life.” He admits, however, that he’s always been much more interested in the front-of-the-house service part than the prep. But the recipe is also very different from his father’s. “I cheat a little bit,” he admits.

“I don’t go all-out. I marinate very quickly,” he continues. “I put it all in one pan. My dad was all gung-ho crazy. He’d marinate the beef.”

John also likes this recipe because ground beef or leftovers can be substituted. “I always have something hanging around,” he says. “It’s kind of a one-pan wonder.”

Although he has inherited many of his dad’s recipes, John has little time to slog through them. “He was very labor-intensive. His sauerbraten took seven days to make. I have the recipe for it,” he says. “I wish I could make it — the gingersnaps, marinating, et cetera — but I don’t have seven days to dedicate to it.”

Besides, it probably wouldn’t translate well to vegan.

Simple Beef Stroganoff

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. butter

1 onion, diced

1 cup white wine

1.5 lbs. round steak cut in thin strips (or a vegan alternative)

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced thin

1½ cups sour cream (vegan alternatives available)

1 package of egg noodles

In a skillet, melt the butter and saute the diced onions until transparent.

Add the wine, sliced beef, and mushrooms. Simmer for approx. 20 minutes.

Drain and reserve the liquid.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Add the sour cream and a portion of the saved liquid to desired consistency while stirring on low heat.

Prepare the egg noodles per package directions.

Drain the noodles and serve the Stroganoff mixture over the noodles.