Nobuo Murakami 村上信夫, known in Japan as the expert of French cuisine, published some recipes in 1978. According to my parents, he was a pioneer in French cooking and the cuisine became popular in Japan, thanks to him. As housewives were learning to cook other cultural foods, he shared 160 recipes from his 7800 French recipes in “Imperial Hotel Chef Nobuo Murakami’s French Cuisine” 村上信夫のおそうざいフランス料理. He studied in Paris at the Ritz Hotel for several years before his time at the Imperial Hotel, where he stayed for 56 years. The particular recipe book my mom has is available on Amazon (in Japanese) if you’d like one for your shelf! There are several recipes we like from this book but I’d like to explore more of it when we have the time. (I should do my own rendition of Julie and Julia minus the obsession). Here’s one of my family’s favorite recipes.
400 – 480 grams of beef (filet, loin, rump is preferred, but we’ve used other portions of beef as well)
12 champignon (aka button mushrooms)
1/2 an onion (1/2 an onion if it’s large, one onion if it’s small)
2/3 cup tomato juice
1 bouillon cube
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon of paprika
2 tablespoons of brandy
1. Cut the meat into bite size pieces. You can cube it or slice it thick. Salt and pepper the meat. Cut the mushrooms in quarters. Dice the onions.
2. Using a pan that’s about 2 – 3 inches in depth (if you don’t have one, use a pot) melt 2 tablespoons of butter, sauté the onions until slightly translucent on low to medium heat and add champignons. Sauté for three minutes. Add the meat and sauté until the meat has browned on all sides. (Make sure not to over cook or meat will be tough. Don’t worry that it’s not thoroughly cooked because it will cook itself in the liquid.) Add the flour and paprika and mix well.
3. Melt the bouillon cube with ¾ cup of hot water. Pour that and the tomato juice over the meat. Place on high heat to bring to a boil and lower the heat to low to simmer. Taste test and add salt and pepper to your liking. Add the brandy and enjoy the aroma! Once you smell the wonderful aroma of brandy mixing into the sauce, add the sour cream.
4. Simmer for the flavors to meld together and meat is cooked. Serve over saffron rice or buttered rice and it’s ready to serve! (We were too tired and hungry that day to make rice so we just placed it over a bed of pasta. Not the same but yummy nonetheless. Buttered rice recipe will be uploaded in the near future!)