Beef & pepper stew

Beef & pepper stew

Peposo

By
From
Florentine
Serves
4
Photographer
Lauren Bamford

This historic dish hails from the little town of Impruneta, 15 kilometres (about 9 miles) outside Florence. Known for its terracotta, it’s the town where Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi sourced the brownred tiles of the dome of Florence’s Duomo in the 1400s. It is said that Brunelleschi often lunched on a bowl of this hearty beef stew, slowly cooked at the mouth of the same ovens that baked the terracotta itself.

There are plenty of modern versions of this dish that include herbs or root vegetables and, commonly, tomato paste or passata (puréed tomatoes), but the classic, essential version of this dish is so wonderful in its simplicity that it really doesn’t need anything other than a whole bottle of Chianti and a good dose of garlic and black pepper. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of pepper called for in this dish – it’s not called peposo (‘peppery’) for nothing.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1kg good stewing or braising beef, diced, such as chuck
3 garlic cloves, whole but peeled
750ml red wine, preferably Chianti
a good pinch salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
tuscan bread, to serve

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based stockpot. Brown the meat in batches over medium heat, then return all the meat back to the pot and add the garlic, red wine, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, for 2½ hours, or until the meat is very tender but not falling apart. Remove the lid of the pot for the last 45 minutes to reduce the liquid to a thick sauce.
  2. Serve with plenty of Tuscan bread to mop up the sauce.
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