Peposo: A Tuscan peppery stew

Sorry about the pic – I know you can barely see the stew as I’ve managed to obscure it with a blanket of rocket….but just imagine you’re looking at chunky flakes of slow-cooked beef shin in a dark and spicy gravy served on some griddled sourdough with just a FEW rocket leaves and a healthy glug of peppery olive oil.

I’d never heard of it before but internet research reveals that Peposo is a Tuscan stew made traditionally in a town near Florence which is famous for terracotta production. It makes sense as the stew is often cooked overnight and I guess a terracotta pot would be a good vehicle to do this. I’ve never been brave enough to cook something overnight but I made this in the morning and then left it cooking until the evening – just topping up the pot if it looked like the liquid was running low. Yes, I know, I can’t seem to help myself….I’m afraid it’s another “make-it-and-leave-it-cooking-while-you-get-on-with-other-stuff” recipe…

So, I used the other half of the beef shin I bought at Smithfield Market for last week’s Ragu which I’d frozen – so, aside from the bottle of wine used for the sauce, the recipe was super cheap. And the results were quite surprising considering how few ingredients were involved – it was really spicy in a good way and although the gravy was quite light and thin it was very savoury and full of flavour.

You’ll need: 
About a half a kilo of beef shin
A bottle of good italian wine – ideally something Tuscan like Chianti
8 cloves of garlic slices
Couple of tablespoons (yes, tablespoons) of ground black pepper
Couple of sprigs of rosemary
1 Bay leaf

And it couldn’t be easier to make. First pop the oven on at about 150 degrees. Then layer the uncooked beef in an ovenproof pan with a few slices garlic cloves and a REALLY generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper and a sprig or two of rosemary. Continue to layer up the ingredients until you’ve used everything up. Add the bayleaf and pour on a whole bottle of wine and then cover the pan tightly with foil.  Put it in the oven for as long as you can manage – I did about 9 hours. All you’ll need to do is check there’s enough liquid in the pan every hour or two. I served it on some chunky griddled sourdough bread to soak up the sauce but I imagine it would be really good with polenta too.

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