Tag Archives: recipes using vodka

Smirnoff Series: Beef Stroganoff (Smirganoff?)

A Beef Stroganoff with Smirnoff Vodka!



The lovely people at Taste PR got in touch with us and offered us a sample of a couple of the Diageo products for us to knock some recipes out with. While I was scanning the product list, Smirnoff Vodka jumped out at me and I thought I could have some real fun with it.

The intention is to create a 3 course meal with vodka being the theme but almost immediately after a bottle of Smirnoff Red Label appeared by courier and it dawned on me that I had made a bit of an error in judgement in choosing vodka as it seems to be a) flavourless, b) very strong and c) used in cocktails etc. as a flavour enhancer. My original idea was to make some really pretentious ‘deconstructed cocktails’ as puddings but I couldn’t find a way to use the vodka as a flavour ( I will be doing some vodka ice-cream later on but it won’t be the dominant flavour).

The main event didn’t take a lot of planning, given that Smirnoff was originally distilled in Moscow it seemed obvious that the most famous Russian dish should be used to showcase Russia’s most famous drink. Beef Stroganoff, or if you want to really stretch a point.… Beef Smirganoff!

As mentioned previously, Vodka is largely tasteless so I had to try and work out how to get it involved where it wouldn’t just be a case of pouring booze into a creamy sauce – Although vodka is an excellent emulsifier which is important when adding cream to a hot sauce. I used the stroganoff as an excuse to see how well vodka worked tenderising meat. The long and the short of it, pretty well!

Right recipe time.


Steak – An equivalent amount for a stir-fry – you can economise on the cut because the marinade will help to tenderise it.

Dijon Mustard – A teaspoon in the marinade and a big tablespoon in the sauce (or more if you like it with a bit more kick.

Garlic and Ginger – A clove and half a thumb of ginger (the only ingredient measured in equivalent body part size!)

Smirnoff vodka – A shot (25ml) in the marinade and a shot in the sauce. The harshness of the alcohol will cook out

Mushrooms, Onion and Peppers – Enough to bulk out the sauce.

Double Cream – Depends how thick you want the sauce but approximately 80-100ml per person.

Paprika – A good teaspoon per person to give some colour and flavour

Salt and Pepper


1) Take the shot of Smirnoff, ginger, garlic, half of the dijon and mix it up into a marinade.

2) Mix give the steak a thorough massaging with the marinade and leave for a couple of hours. That will be more than enough for the Smirnoff to get to work on the steak and make it lovely and tender.

3) Take the steak from the marinade, don’t worry if it has gone a horrible grey colour like this, it will still brown nicely. Save the marinade for pouring into the sauce later.

Beef stroganoff with Smirnoff vodka

4) Flash fry in a really hot pan, you ideally want it to be rare because the sauce will continue cooking it if you put it in.

5) Sauté the peppers, onions and mushrooms in the beefy pan allowing to get some good colour on the peppers and onions.

6) Kill the heat and add the cream, paprika, salt, pepper and bring to a simmer, then add the mustard to taste.

7)Pour in the vodka and stir. This should add some shine to the creamy sauce and give it a bit of an edge.

If you want to serve the steak well cooked, add it to the simmering sauce for a couple of minutes and serve ladled over rice or noodles. If you want the steak to be rare, lay it on the rice and then pour the sauce over.

Please excuse the dodgy looking rice, Alyson was working late so it hung around a little while and got a touch sticky!

If you enjoyed this recipe, why not try our Smirnoff Bloody Mary Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs?

Smirnoff Series: Bloody Mary Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

We’re back with a delicious Bloody Mary spaghetti with turkey meatballs recipe!

It’s an exciting time at Brookers of Blunty’s HQ.  We’ve both been working really extraordinarily hard this week, with Charles’ B&B being packed to the rafters and the utility room to get ready, and with me working lots of hours bussing other chefs’ food to many many customers and working on an assessment for a potential new paraplanning job in my time off.  It’s been pretty mad.  However, we’re picking up our puppy tomorrow morning so there’s light at the end of the tunnel!  Lots of tidying and puppy-proofing on the cards today.

I digress: back to why we’re having an exciting week!  Taste PR has been in touch with us to offer us samples of Diageo products which we can use to create recipes.  Of course, Charles jumped at the chance, as we’re always looking for new ideas for the blog, and to keep us inventive in the kitchen.  A couple of days later, we received a bottle of Smirnoff® vodka from the lovely people at Taste PR (although Charles did have to carry it all the way down the drive in the rain as it had been left with a neighbour) so we’ve been putting our heads together to come up with lots of simple recipes which use vodka in ways you wouldn’t expect. Charles got the ball rolling with a creamy beef stroganoff so expect that recipe coming your way soon, and we have big plans for some vodka based ice creams and ice lollies, so watch this space.

Let’s get into the recipe!  I’ve been really into turkey mince for awhile, so although Charles had made us delicious beef meatball subs a few nights before, he agreed to let me cook spaghetti and meatballs on Monday night, and I gave them a Smirnoff® twist with a Bloody Mary inspired sauce, instead of the usually marinara.  We’re talking celery (well, celery salt), tomato, Worcestershire sauce, vodka and Tobasco.  And it really does work with spaghetti.

In case you’re worried about putting alcohol in your meals, you should be aware that it’s completely up to you how little or how large a measure you sling into your Bloody Mary Sauce.  The addition of the vodka works twofold: firstly, by adding a couple of capfuls to the onions, when it still has plenty of time to cook out the alcohol, and later at the last minute to complete that Bloody Mary flavour, and that’s the step you can shrink, grow or leave out altogether.  The first step though is pretty important as the initial addition of the vodka isn’t for flavour, or for an alcoholic hit, but will emulsify your sauce to give you a beautifully silky consistency to the tomato sauce which really takes it up a notch, plus it helps the sauce to cling to the spaghetti.


Bloody Mary Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

Bloody Mary Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs


    For the meatballs:
  • a pack of turkey thigh mince
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small knob ginger
  • squirt tomato ketchup
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small knob ginger
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 capfuls Smirnoff® vodka
  • 1 large carton or jar passata
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch sugar
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
  • dash Tobasco
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • a shot or two more of Smirnoff® vodka
  • spaghetti, or wholemeal spaghetti, to serve


  1. I like to start by chopping all the vegetables so that I only need to use one chopping board. If you then do your meat on the same board and stick it in the dishwasher or give it a very good hand wash you'll stay nice and hygienic. So slice up the onion and grate the garlic and onion.
  2. Start by making the meatballs. Chuck the mince in a large bowl then add the other seasonings and flavourings, including the sauces and grated garlic and ginger.
  3. Mix it all up really well with nice clean hands (I'm sorry, it's just the best way).
  4. Then roll it into small meatballs, trying to press each meatball together tightly as you go, as we're not adding any binding agents like eggs (they just taste better that way).
  5. Now, you can either set them aside and get your sauce going, or you can fry them off and then set them aside and use the meaty pan to fry your onions in. It's a successful strategy but I wanted to give my sauce plenty of time to get the flavours balanced so I used two separate pans (and ran out of room in the hob when I added the spaghetti and veg!).
  6. Anyway, to cook the meatballs, fry them off in a large frying pan until brown on each side in two batches so you don't overcrowd the pan. And try not to flip them around too much, as that will make them more likely to split and break apart. Don't worry about cooking them all the way through as they'll be finished off in the oven later.
  7. Set them aside on a tray lined with tin foil for the time being and preheat the oven to 180c.
  8. Now, on to the sauce.
  9. Add a touch more olive oil to the pan and make sure it's over a gentle medium heat. Add in the onions and let them cook until turning soft and translucent. If they're turning brown, turn the heat down.
  10. Add the garlic, ginger and tomato puree and cook those all out for a few minutes to help to mellow the flavours.
  11. Add the balsamic and let that reduce completely, and then repeat with the two capfuls of vodka.
  12. Now, you can add the passata.
  13. To make the chicken stock, I like to crumble the stock cube into the used passata container and pour in a little boiled water, stirring to dissolve. This is a two birds, one stone sort of situation as I always like to swill some water around in the empty carton to get all of the passata residue out and into the pan, but you could of course use a Knorr stock pot instead which will melt straight into the sauce.
  14. Add the herbs and spices, Worcestershire sauce and plenty of black pepper, and simmer on a low to medium heat for at least 20 minutes, stirring every now and then, turning the heat down if it's boiling too hard.
  15. With 15 minutes to go, get the spaghetti cooking in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, and stick the meatballs in the oven for the last 10 minutes.
  16. At the last minute, add some of the pasta water (thanks Nigella) to the sauce to loosen it and further improve its consistency, then add as much Tobasco and vodka as you dare.
  17. Add the meatballs to the sauce along with any cooking juice in the bottom of the tray, heat through and then serve with the spaghetti and some parmesan cheese.
  18. Buon appetito!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes

Let us know what you think!  We’d also love to hear about any recipes you’ve come up with using vodka.

If you enjoyed the turkey meatballs, why not try some more of our turkey mince recipes, such as our Turkey Bolognese or Chilli Con Turkey?