There seems to be some sort of reproach tone in these eyes. Did that beautiful white burgundian cow (that I hand-fed last summer) forsee my (wine related) interest in her flesh ?
Winter is Bourguignon's season. Bourguignon not only means "from Burgundy" but the word is short for "boeuf bourguignon", that is, beef cooked in wine, burgundian style. this is a great winter dish, synonym for long, patient cooking on the stove.
The meat is usually from the shoulder part of the cow, a lean type of meat, and is usually cut by butchers in big pieces. Whenever cooked like a steak in a frying pan it would be tough to eat, but long hours on the stove, bathing in its juice plus wine, make it both tender and so differently tasty than ordinary beef.
The best cooking recipient for the bourguignon is the heavy cast iron pot with its lid. It works like a stewpot, retaining the aromas and cooking the ingredients harmoniously.
There are variants in the recipe. As for me, I use to lightly fry the meat with sliced onions a few minutes in the open cast-iron pot, turning the pieces over a few times so that they can get superficially cooked on all sides. Then, pour the wine and add some aromatic herbs and salt.
Of course, the dish being burgundian, the wine would be ideally Pinot Noir from Burgundy. The important thing actually is that the wine has to be a flavored, rich-texture wine. In short, a good wine that could be enjoyed in a glass. I sort of improvised this one and chose a wine I bought in bulk last year and bottled myself (I recognize I am reluctant to pour more expensive wine just to cook meat), a Touraine Cabernet 2002 by Francis Jourdain. After the meat was enough stir-fried and had changed color, I poured about a third of the bottle in the pot, put the heavy lid back and left the pot on the stove. Both the cast-iron pot and the wood cookstove provide the ideal conditions for the long, patient cooking needed for the "bourguignon".
After a while, you'll notice the wine has lost its color : it's all gone into the meat and will provide this unforgettable added flavor to the beef. You don't need to submerge the beef under the wine, but as I said, there are variants, and you can pour more or less. If you want to cook vegetables with the meat, add them at the end so that they aren't overcooked. After a few hours, you will have a great dish with a lightly sirupy wine sauce which will be something completely different from wine. I would say the wine has been transmuted in the process . Not only the color, but the core components have gone into the meat pieces [ picture on right ]. That's why you must select a great, structured wine. The alcohol has disappeared, you don't feel directly that you deal with wine, but unmistakenly, there is something of the wine in there... You will soak the juice with your bread and have a hard time to stop.