Bizarre Love Triangle – Estofado Catalan

estofado catalan - catalonian beef stew
One of my all-time favorite songs is Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order. I don’t even remember the first time I heard it – probably standing against the wall in my pegged white jeans at some awkward junior high school dance – but I do know that every time I hear it, I feel a shot right through like a bolt of blue…just kidding. It’s like my head detaches from my body and I go into some warped sense of time and space. That sounds oh-so cliché and Solid Gold lamé, but there are few things that do that to me. Food, music, and well, some other things that I can’t write in public ;)

I never quite understood Bizarre Love Triangle’s lyrics. I don’t mean that I didn’t understand the deep philosophical meaning behind the poetry. I mean that at some points during the song, I have no idea what Mr. New Order guy is actually singing, and yet I still sing right along with the song at the top of my lungs. I have this uncanny ability to translate song lyrics into my own language, even if someone writes them out for me, even if we are at no-rae-bahng (private karaoke rooms of the Korean variety) and the actual words magically appear on the screen, even if I have heard the song a million times…I sing the words that are in my head.

But, I have finally found the lyrics, and I now understand all those strange stares from complete strangers when I was singing along. It’s not that I have a horrible voice! I’m just an idiot who doesn’t know the words! I mean really, I might as well have been singing the words to Sweet Child O’ Mine.

Now that I know what the real words to Bizarre Love Triangle are, the title makes sense to me. I love the lyrics. I have memorized them. I now understand that the whole song is about a Christian guy who looks in the mirror and prays to become a Jew. Wow, just like me. LOL!

Okay, in all seriousness, the song does have new meaning because as I was thinking about my life as I often do as I’m flutzing about the kitchen, I realized that I too am living out this very bizarre love triangle. I am Korean. But don’t let this dark shiny hair, fair skin, and almond-shaped eyes framed by cosmetology textbook tattooed eyebrows fool you. On the outside I may look like a Korean girl who has no problem with Korean food, and in fact, absolutely loves her happy, natural relationship that she’s supposed to be in with kimchee and galbee, but on the inside, my dark and tormented heart is divided. It belongs to…everything else. Indian. Mexican. Peruvian. Ethiopian. Geezus, it’s like one giant global food orgy, and Spanish makes me feel fine and feel good, and feeling like I never should.

For all the Spanish language studying I did in high school and college, I don’t know much about the country, but I am learning. God knows this whole dinner party was like a crash course in all the different autonomous regions of Spain, one of which is Cataluña, in the furthest northeast corner, bordering France and the Mediterranean sea. Cataluña’s capital city is Barcelona – a city that bubblicious Brooke Burke got Wild On! back in the day. Though the national language of Spain is the Castilian form of Spanish, Cataluña also has their own dialect – Catalan. Who knew I’d learn so much from a simple beef stew!

Estofado Catalan is a long-cooked beef stew from the Catalan people, who are not only restricted to the Cataluna region. The language is spoken by the people in other Mediterranean areas including France, Andorra (Andorra? Never thought 5th grade social studies with Mrs. Galayda would be useful, huh?), and the Balearic Islands. That includes Ibiza, but Ibiza is an entire topic unto itself.

The end to a Spanish dinner party. I believe this is that final moment you’ll say the words that I can’t say

Estofado Catalan Recipe

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Wash, pat dry, and cut into large chunks about 5 pounds of beef. This can be in the form of short ribs, though I used a few cuts of beef tri-tip. Generously salt and pepper the meat, then brown the meat pieces in a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large, deep pan (or pot) over medium high heat. Remove the meat to a separate plate. If you have an oven-safe pot or deep casserole type dish, use it to brown the meat and eventually cook the whole dish. I don’t have one, so I used a regular saute pan for the stove-top browning process, and a large rectangular baking dish for the oven-cooking process.

Cook 2 large carrots that have been peeled and cut into 1½-2″ long pieces, 2 large onions that have been cut into eighths, and 3-4 crushed garlic cloves in the same pan for about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup red wine and 1 cup dry sherry to the vegetables and cook for another 10 minutes to reduce the liquids to about half.

Add 1 15 oz. can plum tomatoes that have been crushed by hand, 5 cups beef stock, ½ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, the zest-only peel from one orange, a sprig of thyme, a bay leaf, and the beef to the pot. Bring to a boil over the stove top, then remove, cover and bake in the pre-heated oven. The length of time will vary depending on your oven and how big you cut the meat, but mine took 3½ hours before the meat was as tender as I wanted it.

You can serve it as is, but I removed the orange peel, thyme and bay leaf. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve with the rest of your Spanish meal. Or rice, polenta, or even smashed potatoes. But most importantly, don’t forget the sangria.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 nosh February 13, 2006 at 9:13 pm

Gosh, Sarah, how many did you feed at that Spanish dinner party you cooked up!?


2 Professor Salt February 13, 2006 at 10:23 pm

“I have to think of something interesting to say about it.”

How about: I ate this with my grilled cheese sandwich.


3 sarah February 13, 2006 at 10:27 pm

professor! you just made me lol! thank you!

and nosh: the party, i believe, numbered somewhere in the, oh, i don’t know, i lost track after my fourth glass of sangria. LOL!


4 Grace February 14, 2006 at 12:53 am

KUDOS to you for loving Bizarre Love Triangle! You >>>>>>>>>> Rachael Ray, any day!


5 Xiao-bo February 14, 2006 at 3:30 am

I’ve just found your blog and clicked through some of the archives and it’s sooo delicious. And on some level, I can relate to your writing a lot more than some other food bloggers because I also come from an Asian American background. Substitute the kimchi + turkey with pickled vegetable roots + wheat toast, and that’s the story of my life. I also have a Korean friend who claims that “Bizarre Love Triangle” is the theme song to every Asian American kid in their twenties. I guess she’s right!


6 sarah February 14, 2006 at 4:10 am

grace: rachael ray?!?! *sigh* i guess there could be worse things in life…like sandra lee. LOL!

xb: glad you’re here! and oh boy, i could write for hours about music from back in the day – the stuff i listened to in the dark, in my room, crying about who knows what kind of high school lame-osity. LOL! yaz, erasure, pet shop boys….LOL!


7 Daily Gluttony February 14, 2006 at 5:01 am

Bizarre Love Triangle is the best song EVER!!! (well, next to The Smiths’ How Soon Is Now) Aaah, thanks for the nice trip down memory lane, Ms. Delish!


8 rick james February 14, 2006 at 5:17 am

i think Bizarre Love Triangle back in the day was also referred to as…. the Chinese National Anthem… ;p


9 rick james February 14, 2006 at 5:17 am

i think Bizarre Love Triangle back in the day was also referred to as…. the Chinese National Anthem… ;p


10 Ed February 14, 2006 at 6:39 am

How cool is that: New Order and Spanish food.
Daily gluttony is right about the Smiths and you should check out not just the lyrics but the song titles (Meat is Murder, Girlfriend in a Coma!). BTW Joy Division (Atmosphere) beats them all.


11 sarah February 14, 2006 at 6:44 am

omy…smiths. LOL! this is seriously taking me back to high school!!

oh ed, ed…joy division! :) had forgotten all about them, then just RE-introduced to them through 24 hour party people…LOL!


12 Grace February 14, 2006 at 9:15 am

Rachael Ray is quite horrible. Sandra Lee is even worse, which I had previously believed to be unimaginable. But the WORST one of them all.. is Giada De Laurentiis. Does she have to show her breasts just to garner attention? LOL! Every single episode I happen to stumble upon shows her baring her breasts.. chicken, that is. (;


13 Phil C February 14, 2006 at 4:47 pm

I’m sorry Grace but Sandra Lee is the WORST by several degrees. You can’t even compare her to Giada. As far as baring breasts goes, better Giada than Ina Garten!


14 sarah February 14, 2006 at 5:58 pm

okay grace, i re-read your commment and i think that the “>” symbol was the “greater than” symbol and not an arrow? (i hope) i thought you were calling me rachael ray!!!! LOL!

anyway, back to the axis of evil aka sandra lee, rachael ray and giada de laurentiis…okay, better not. i don’t think there’s enough room in the comments to write how i feel about them.

but i ADORE ina garten. she is so cute and i love how she surrounds herself with men while her husband is away working all week. LOL!


15 Ed February 14, 2006 at 8:26 pm

24 Party People, brilliant. LOL,we used to go up to Manchester when I was at uni in Liverpool. Echo and the Bunnymen?


16 Grace February 15, 2006 at 2:00 am

the “>”s were definitely the “greater than” symbols. and LOTS of them. please, sarah, would i really call you rachael ray? i would not dare insult you so! (;

oh and.. phil – sandra lee & giada bother me equally, but the breast showing grosses me out like no other.


17 Axel March 2, 2007 at 11:30 am

I can’t believe what I read here. I’m a german, ended up living in Barcelona and I just googled up the lyrics to this song because I never really understood what it meant. I’m honest, I still don’t really get it but what you said: i sing every line from the top of my lungs. And stumbling across a blog by searching for song lyrics and reading a korean girl writing about catalan food just adds to the magic of this song. If you happen to know the acoustic version of a group called Frente. It subtracts the cheesy 80ties stuff and reduces the song imho to the very meaning.

Take Care,


18 Anonymous July 30, 2009 at 7:19 pm

+1 for axel
… Anyway i still dont get the meaning…


19 margg August 14, 2016 at 8:42 am

New Order absolutely perfect band, Age of Consent best song for lifting your mood.


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