The classic Florentine beef stew. It’s a dish of extremely deep flavours and comforting textures.
But it’s not a preparation that can be rushed. You need at least four hours, preferably more, and as with many Tuscan recipes, it is improved by leaving overnight. I’d love to be able to say you can use an alternative cut if you can’t get hold of beef shin, but it really must be shin. And you must leave the fat on – do not be tempted to trim. Your butcher will always be able to provide shin even if your supermarket can’t.
Additionally, the wine element needs to be on-brand and regional. Chianti or even a standard Sangiovese will provide much better results than a cheap New World Merlot from a petrol station.
- 100g lard (or butter if you’re afraid of lard)
- 800g beef shin, cut into small chunks
- flaky sea salt
- 1 bottle Chianti or Sangiovese
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 2 × 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
- black pepper
- sourdough bread, for serving
- Melt half the lard in a very large frying pan and sear the meat on all sides until nicely browned. Add a few pinches of salt during this process. You may need to fry in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. If there is a dark residue at the bottom of the frying pan, deglaze with a splash of red wine. When the all the shin is brown, transfer to a very large saucepan in which you have melted the remaining lard. Add the sliced garlic and the peppercorns and stir for 1 minute. Now add the chopped tomatoes and the rest of the wine. Bring to the boil briefly, then reduce to a very low simmer.
- For the next 4 hours, keep half an eye on your peposo to make sure it’s not drying out too quickly. If it is, cover it, but the full bottle of wine should have been sufficient to keep it stew-like. After 4 hours, check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. The beef shin will have disintegrated somewhat and become stringy and soft. You can encourage this further with some hearty wooden spoon action. If it hasn’t, leave it longer. Or you could let it cool and leave it covered overnight. Then give it another 30 minutes on a medium heat the next day.
- Serve with hunks of sourdough or unsalted Tuscan bread (page 226 of Brutto).
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