Someone’s in the kitchen

By Fluffy Baum (courtesy of Ruth Combs and Carolyn Horton)

This is part two of the tale of two stroganoffs. This week’s recipe comes from Fluffy Baum of Greenville. She prepares this meal for birthdays and other special occasions. This recipe serves 20 and can be made the day before or frozen.

Recipe journey

Fluffy received this recipe from Ruth Combs, who received the recipe from her mother-in-law, Carolyn Horton. Baum improvised over the years with the recipe and made it her own by adding items that her young children preferred. Instead of just stroganoff, haystacks were created.


The first time I heard the Baums refer to haystacks, I thought we were getting the no bake treat that is chocolate with the chinese noodles and maybe another ingredient or two. Boy, was I mistaken! Haystacks is stroganoff, plus more. The Baums always serve the stroganoff with rice but there are also bowls of lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, sliced black olives, chinese noodles, and Fritos corn chips. The family mixes their individual plates with the stroganoff, rice, and their choice of toppings. This version is completely different from how my mom serves hers, but from experience I can tell you this recipe, although unique, is equally good.

Beef Stroganoff

4 pounds cubed roast or round steak; lean and trimmed

3-4 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of salt (to taste)

2 teaspoons of pepper (to taste)

1 large onion, chopped or sliced

6 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter

6 ounce can of tomato paste

3-32 ounces of beef broth (may need more for the right consistency)

2-13 ounce cans of sliced mushrooms

2-16 ounce containers of sour cream (may need to add a bit more)

Oil — enough to brown the steak pieces.

Dredge the meat in 1 1/2-2 cups of flour with salt and pepper. Brown the meat in small batches in the hot oil. Add oil as needed and cook the meat until it is no longer pink. Transfer meat into a large cooking pan. In the same skillet saute onion and garlic in 1 stick of butter until translucent. Add the tomato paste and stir until well blended. Next, add 1 cup of flour, making a thick paste. Gradually stir in the beef broth, stirring constantly. Add the sauce to the meat mixture and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes. Add the sour cream at the end and be careful not to boil or overheat so the sour cream does not curdle. Serve with rice or noodles. If making haystacks, include individual bowls of the above mentioned toppings, or tweak it to the liking of your own family.

I hope you take the time to make this recipe and make some memories of your own. If you have a recipe, memory, and of course a photo that you would like to share, please email to or mail to The Greenville Advocate P.O. Box 9 Greenville, IL 62246.

Photo submitted: The Charlie and Fluffy Baum crew: front row, from left: Leona, Neil, Buzz, Kelley, Isaac. Middle row, Charlie, Fluffy, Charlie, Chloe. Back row: Grace, Dave, Jamie, Tara, Corey, and Brianna.