Tuscan Pepper Stew

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terracotta pot stew

Slow cooking is wonderful for tougher cuts of meat, and brings out their juiciness without the addition of fat. It’s also the way to go with beans! My grandma’s neighbors used to stuff beans together with water, garlic and sage inside an empty Chianti bottle (the type with a rounded belly) and bury the base of the bottle in hot ashes in the fireplace overnight. The gentle heat of the embers was enough to cook them to perfection, and I’ve never tasted anything more delicious!

This ancient recipe for stew is said to have been created by Florentine tile makers working at the famous cathedral in the early 15th century. What a clever idea, cooking a filling meal side by side with the tiles in their furnace!

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4-6 ServingsServings

Ingredients

  • 2 1⁄2 pounds beef for stew, cubed (chuck or shank)
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 clove
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 bottle Chianti (or other strong dry red wine)

Preparation

1. Arrange the beef, onion, garlic cloves and spices on the bottom of your clay pot. Sprinkle with salt and the whole peppercorns.
2. Pour the wine over the beef.
3. Cover the pot and cook in the oven at 325°F for 5 hours or until the beef is tender and flaky, and the red wine has reduced into a sauce. If the sauce is too thin, remove the cover towards the end of the cooking.

Some people like to add 1 or 2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved into the wine. This is a later variation to the original recipe which dates back to the Renais- sance, before the introduction of tomatoes from the New World. In Tuscany, Peposo is traditionally served with the traditional salt-free Tuscan peasant bread, and some sautéed greens. However, the Venetian in me loves to serve it on top of polenta.


As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

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