Peposo Florentine Beef Stew

The peposo is a traditional Tuscan recipe from the “provincia” (county) of Florence. It’s similar to a stew, but has its distinct differences. The meat is cooked in a full-bodied red wine, usually a local Chianti from the same area, giving it a dark color. Also, a generous use of black pepper is applied, so much so that the name peposo derives from “pepe” (Italian for pepper). The dish is also known as peposo alla fornacina, since in the past the stew was placed in terracotta bowls and slow-cooked at the mouth of furnaces. Legend goes that the recipe was invented in the 1400s by the workers who tended the kilns producing the bricks that were used to make Bruneleschi’s dome. Utilizing the heat of the furnaces, they were able to cook this simple yet nourishing meal, without having to interrupt the workflow.

Serves 6


5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic; finely chopped
2 small carrots, finely chopped
2 small stalks celery, finely chopped
2 crumbled dried chili peppers
1.3kg cubed meat from veal hind shanks/hind shin of veal
5 tsp whole black peppercorns
5 cloves garlic, wholeSalt to taste
200g chopped canned tomatoes
500g red wine


Pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and chili peppers for 5 minutes. Trim any gristle or fat from the meat and cut into 2cm cubes. Coarsely crush the peppercorns using a mortar and pestle or place them in a thick paper bag and crush with a rolling pin.

Add the whole garlic and the meat to the saucepan. Season with salt, add the peppercorns and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the meat is browned all over. Add the tomatoes, stir well, and cook for 12 minutes, then pour in the wine. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender. Serve hot.