Peposo alla Fornacina - Braised Chianti Beef
A beef dish, braised over several hours in dry Chianti, peposo makes for a simple meal served with toasted slices of rustic country bread. By the time the meat is done cooking, it should be falling apart but still juicy and flavorful. Try rubbing the surface of your bread with a raw clove of garlic for a little extra kick and then piling the peposo on top to eat like an open-faced sandwich.
- 2 lbs of beef shank or other tough cut of beef
- 1 liter of chianti
- 20 whole black peppercorns
- 10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- salt to taste
- tied bundle of rosemary and sage (optional)
- Trim any large pieces of fat from the meat. Anything that would be difficult to trim away can be left, just take off fat that is obviously in excess.
- Cut the beef into rough cubes, about 2 inches thick, it's fine if they aren't all the same size.
- Place the beef into a thick, lidded, terracotta pot.
- Distribute the whole garlic cloves among the meat.
- Season with salt and distribute the peppercorns around the pot.
- Add the bundle of rosemary and sage, if using.
- Pour the wine in, making sure to cover the beef. You can use a bit more wine as necessary.
- Bring the wine to a boil on the stove top and then reduce to a simmer.
- Alternatively, place the pot inside an oven preheated to 300F.
- Cook for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally and checking that the beef remains covered in wine throughout most of the cooking time.
- When the dish is ready, the meat should be very tender to the point of falling apart and the wine should have reduced to a sauce. If the wine has not reduced enough towards the end of the cooking time, you can remove the lid and continue cooking, being careful not to let the meat dry out.
- Remove the rosemary and sage, if using.
- Serve hot on top of toasted or grilled slices of thick Italian bread.
Although there are whole peppercorns in this recipe, they soften during the cooking process so they aren't dangerous to bite into. If you find the taste of biting into a peppercorn to be too strong, keep an eye out for them as you serve the peposo or break them up with a mortar and pestle prior to adding them to the pot. Don't worry about the amount of garlic the recipe calls for. By the time the dish is done, the cloves will have dissolved and the flavor left behind is mild.