Beef and Black Bean Sauce

This week I have a recipe that has a little heat and some unusual flavours in there to try and confuse the boys as they have just been getting the matches spot on. In fairness I have been going easy on them with classics such as beef wellington and some simple steamed salmon so time to up the ante and see if they have the palate to match something up to this little beef in black bean sauce recipe. The recipe isn’t really that madly spicy but there are some strong flavours in there with the beans and garlic standing out so I would imagine it would take something pretty robust to stand up to this. Over to you boys…..

Mike’s wine match:
Thanks Niall, we love a challenge! Chinese food can often be quite tricky, not least because, unlike European cuisine, recipes didn’t evolve alongside local wine-making. Nevertheless, underlying food matching principles can point us in the right direction.
The strength of flavours in this dish, and the fact that it’s beef, would point us firmly towards a full-bodied red wine. There is an argument that a strongly aromatic white wine, like a New Zealand Sauvignon, could be the perfect anti-dote for all that richness and flavour, but I think red’s a safer bet for a synergistic match in this case.
The dish is quite spicy, so I wouldn’t match it with a spicy wine, I think you’d have too much going on. For that reason, and needing something full-bodied, I’d go for a good Argentinian Malbec or a Chilean Carmenere. This Santa Alicia is incredibly smooth and packed with depth and strength of flavour, so will stand up to the rich black bean sauce without blowing your head off with spice.
If you want to try the anti-dote option, go for something with tons of flavour and character (beware of cheap imitations of good New Zealand Sauvi!). This Waipara Springs is one of my favourites from the up-and-coming Waipara region and I reckon could cope well with the rich flavours of Niall’s dish.
All you need now are the chopsticks!
Niall Harbison is Co-Founder and Master Chef at Look and Taste.

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