HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Peposo, Tuscan Beef Stew

  
        
Basilica de Santa Maria del Fiore 
The story behind Peposo, a rich stew that owes its flavor to just two key ingredients –Chianti and Black Pepper—is as fascinating as the finished dish.   I read it in Cook’s Illustrated, which, in its usual fashion, went to great lengths to perfect the finished dish.  I was much happier with my final version but first, this fascinating piece of food history. In the 15th century, Tuscan tile makers, working on the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, one of Florence’s most cherished landmarks, had to produce 4 million terra cotta tiles to line the dome of the church.   Their kilns practically worked non-stop to achieve their goal. For their midday meal, the men would lay cheap cuts of beef and lots of garlic cloves and pepper into clay pots. These pots were then doused with at least a liter of Chianti. Left uncovered, they were placed close to the kilns and slow-cooked until the meat was tender and the wine had turned into a rich, beefy, peppery sauce. The finished dish was then served over slabs of Tuscan bread.  I am almost as fond of a good food story as I am of a great recipe so the stew captured my imagination and I went to work making it.