As winter rolls into Greenwich, I was thrilled to prepare “Peposo alla Fornacina” recently featured in Milk Street. This Tuscan beef stew is simply delightful on a cold winter day.
Frankly, I can’t recall eating any meat stew in Tuscany that was this delicious, but I will certainly add my endorsement to this hearty entree.
While the recipe suggests that you get only 6 to 8 servings from 7 pounds of stew meat, this stew is very rich and it could easily feed another 4 people (perhaps not teenagers).
I would strongly recommend choosing high-quality stew meat with clearly defined grain lines. Asking your butcher to cut the stew meat into 2″ pieces will certainly help reduce the prep time. Give the meat a close second look before committing it to the oven. Trim away any sinew or fat missed by the butcher. We were lucky. Our butcher did a wonderful job.
You need a couple of cups of wine, but don’t go overboard.
Tuscan Beef and Black Pepper Stew
- 6 to 7 pounds boneless beef chuck roast well-trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
- Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion halved and thinly sliced
- 12 medium garlic cloves peeled
- 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 sprigs of rosemary plus 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 2 cups of dry red wine
- Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Place the beef in a large bowl, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt and 2 tablespoons pepper, then toss.
- In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the paste begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Nestle the beef and rosemary sprigs in the onion mixture, cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours.
- Remove the pot from the oven. Stir, then return to the oven uncovered. Cook until a knife inserted into a piece of beef meets no resistance, another 1 to 1½ hours.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a medium bowl. Set a fine mesh strainer over a fat separator or a medium bowl. Pour the meat juices into the strainer and press on the solids to push them through the strainer; discard any solids left behind.
- Pour the wine into the empty pot and bring to a boil over medium-high, scraping up any brown bits. Reduce to medium and simmer until the wine is syrupy and reduced to about 1 cup, some 5 to 7 minutes. If you strained the mean juices into a bowl, use a spoon to skim off and discard the fat from the surface.
- Pour the defatted meat juices into the pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high and cook, stirring until thickened to the consistency of heavy cream - about 5 to 7 minutes. return the beef to the pot, add the minced rosemary and stir gently. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring, until the meat is heated through, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in 2 teaspoons of pepper, then taste and season with salt.
If you are not a beef person, sample these other great recipes from Gourmet Living: