Oct 29, 2008

Beef bourguignon

The other week, I cooked one of my favorite dishes, beef bourguignon. It's one of those great tasting, hearty dishes, with lots of animal fats and flavors. It's also one of the few foods where the taste improves in the refrigerator. The peanuts in leftover kung pao chicken get soggy and taste worse over time; beef bourguignon, on the other hand, tastes more complex and tender after a day or two in the refrigerator.

One question I ask myself, though, is it really beef bourguignon that I've cooked? Not having the luxury of an expatriate salary package, including the fancy villa estate, driver, maid, and French wine collection, I have to make due in my kitchen with Australian wines, and some of the passable Chinese wines.

If I make beef bourguignon with Changyu-brand Cabernet 1997, should the dish really be called something different, like beef chinois-on, or beef changyu-on? Or perhaps boeuf à la chinoise, or boeuf à la changyu? I never learned French, so I think I'm in need of some help.

If the essential ingredient of a dish is a specific wine, and then you swap that wine out for a replacement, does it change the name of the dish? Who knew cooking could raise so many deep questions.

2 Comments:

Blogger Jason Raish said...

hey eric. i read your blog all the time. i'm also here in beijing. What's your recipe, beef bourguignon sounds delicious!

8:12 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

@Jason:

Can't find the recipe off hand, but any standard French beef bourguignon recipe should be about the same. (For example, this one.) Just make sure you're browning the beef before you cook it, and pick a wine that's good enough to drink for use in the stew.

5:55 PM  

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