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Peposo – Tuscan Red Wine Beef Stew

April 8, 2020 (Last Updated: April 20, 2020) by Emily

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Peposo is a traditional Tuscan Beef Stew originating from Florence. It truly is the simplest stew you’ll ever make yet it has so much flavour. Made with garlic, lots of black pepper and a whole bottle of red wine, super delicious and perfect served with creamy polenta.

An overhead shot of Peposo, Tuscan red wine beef stew in a bowl with polenta

Peposo is one of my favourite Tuscan dishes (ok, I know I have many favourites) but this recipe just transports you straight to Florence.

It’s so utterly simple that you just can’t go wrong.

It’s made with beef chuck, garlic, black pepper and red wine, that’s it!

I know what you’re thinking, it’s just too simple?

But trust me, don’t be tempted to throw in any herbs, veggies, chopped tomatoes or stock, just don’t, not until you’ve made this the traditional way at least once and you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say it’s perfect the way it is!

What does it taste like?

There’s one whole bottle of red wine in this stew (Chianti or Sangiovese) so it’s so rich in flavour with a delicious spicy kick from the black pepper (hence the name Peposo).

It may seem like a lot of pepper but don’t be put off, it mellows as it cooks in the red wine just enough to give the stew some heat.

The meat is super tender but not completely falling apart, it still has a little bite to it.

And because the beef isn’t dusted in flour like a lot of other stews the sauce doesn’t thicken the same as other beef stews you may be more familiar with.

Again, trust me it’s still absolutely delicious this way and perfect with creamy polenta or crusty bread.

A close up of a piece of stew on a fork

How to make Peposo (Tuscan beef stew) – step by step

Heat the olive oil in a large pot, brown the beef on all sides for a minute or two (you might need to do this in batches so there is enough room) (photo 1).

Step by step photos showing how to make Tuscan red wine beef stew

Add the beef and juices back to the pot (if browning in batches) and add the red wine, garlic, salt and pepper (photo 2-4).

Cover the pot with a lid and simmer on a medium-low heat for 1.5 hours, uncover the pot and continue to simmer the stew for another 1.5 hours until the liquid has reduced slightly (photo 5-7).

Top tip: once the stew is uncovered check it every so often and give it a stir to make sure it doesn’t stick or the meat at the top dries out.

Step by step photos showing how to make peposo

The beef should be tender but not completely falling apart. Serve with creamy polenta and crusty bread (photo 8).

Serving suggestions

Traditionally this beef stew is simply eaten with some crusty bread but we often serve it with creamy polenta, slow cook polenta (30 minutes rather than 5 minutes) so it’s extra smooth and creamy, so delicious!

Other than creamy polenta grilled or baked polenta is also delicious served with this! Follow our recipe for baked polenta fries and cut the polenta into bigger slices instead.

You could also serve this stew with cannellini beans warmed up in a saucepan or roasted or mashed potatoes and lots of crusty bread!

A side shot of polenta in a bowl stopped with beef stew

Top tips for making this pepper beef stew

  • The stew sauce is quite thin but that’s how it should be but if you prefer a thicker sauce simply whisk 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 1-2 tsp of water then add it to the stew at the end of cooking to thicken.
  • Traditionally this stew is cooked in a terracotta pot but I like to use a Dutch oven. You can use any large pot you have as long as it has a lid to cover it.
  • Use any good stewing beef for this, traditionally beef shank is used,  I use beef chuck cut into chunks.
  • Use freshly ground black pepper, don’t use pre-ground pepper that you can buy at the supermarket because it doesn’t taste the same.
  • Whatever you do, do not use cooking wine! Use Chianti or Sangiovese red or a good red wine that you would happily drink.

More Italian recipes you might like

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5 from 4 votes

Peposo - Tuscan Red Wine Stew

Peposo is a traditional Tuscan Beef Stew originating from Florence. It truly is the simplest stew you'll ever make yet it has so much flavour. Made with garlic, lots of black pepper and a whole bottle of red wine, super delicious and perfect served with creamy polenta.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4 - 6 servings
Calories 605kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef chuck or shank or stewing beef (1 kg) cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 bottle red wine Chianti or Sangiovese if possible
  • 6 whole garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes or kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot, brown the beef on all sides for a minute or two (you might need to do this in batches so there is enough room).
  • Add the beef and juices back to the pot (if browning in batches) and add the red wine, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and simmer on a medium-low heat for 1.5 hours, uncover the pot and continue to simmer the stew for another 1.5 hours until the liquid has reduced slightly.
  • Top tip: once the stew is uncovered check it every so often and give it a stir to make sure it doesn't stick or the meat at the top dries out.
  • The beef should be tender but not completely falling apart. Serve with creamy polenta and crusty bread.

Notes

  • The stew sauce is quite thin but that’s how it should be, if you prefer a thicker sauce simply whisk 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 1-2 tsp of water then add it to the stew at the end of cooking to thicken.
  • Traditionally this stew is cooked in a terracotta pot but I like to use a Dutch oven. You can use any large pot you have as long as it has a lid to cover it.
  • Use any good stewing beef for this, traditionally beef shank is used, I use beef chuck cut into chunks.
  • Use freshly ground black pepper, don't use pre-ground pepper that you can buy at the supermarket because it doesn't taste as good.
  • Whatever you do, do not use cooking wine! Use Chianti or San Genovese red or a good red wine that you would happily drink.

Nutrition

Calories: 605kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 773mg | Potassium: 1011mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 29IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 6mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan (convection) oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Paulo
    September 9, 2020 at 12:35 am

    ricetta sensazionale
    L’ho già fatto ed è un successo qui nella mia città in Brasile5 stars

  • Reply
    Ann Davis-Rowe
    August 16, 2020 at 12:10 am

    We started our honeymoon just outside Florence and this took us back to Fiesole! What a perfectly lovely fancy/simple recipe.5 stars

  • Reply
    Claire
    April 20, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    I’ve had this in Florence and it was so delicious, can’t wait to try this recipe!5 stars

  • Leave a Reply

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