Peposo is a hearty Tuscan beef stew that’s made with just 5 ingredients.  Chuck roast is seared and slowly braised until tender in a sauce made from black pepper and chianti.  Traditionally served with crusty bread, Peposo is also wonderful served with creamy polenta.  

Bowl of peposo with blue napkin, fork, spoon, and pieces of bread.

The first time I had Peposo I was blown away by the incredible flavor that pepper yields after it’s been cooked for a few hours.

You may be looking at the ingredients and wondering if the 1 1/2 tablespoons of black pepper is correct; yes, it is.

The pepper is stewed with the wine and beef for over 2 hours and that allows the flavor of the pepper to mellow and morph into something truly wonderful.

Peposo, or Tuscan beef and black pepper stew, is a favorite in our home and I love the fact it requires just a few ingredients, and that after the searing, I can basically set it on the stove and allow it to cook while I tend to other things.

Oh, and the aroma of the Peposo while it’s simmering is reason enough to make it!

Ingredients shown: beef chuck, black peppercorns, rustic bread, bottle of chianti, and garlic.

How to make peposo (Tuscan beef stew)

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Slice a 2 1/2 pound beef chuck roast into large chunks.  Alternatively, you can purchase stew beef or chuck that’s already been sliced. Using a paper towel, pat the chunks until they are very dry. (Photo #1)
  2. Season the beef chunks with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.  Note: As a general rule 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of beef is what tastes good.  Of course, feel free to adjust to your own tastes. (Photo #2)
Peposo (Tuscan beef stew) recipe process shot collage group number one showing cubed beef being seasoned and seared in dutch oven.
  1. Heat a large Dutch oven to medium heat and add 8 cloves of garlic and 3 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the garlic for 1-2 minutes until lightly golden.  Remove the garlic cloves and save them for later.  Without overcrowding the pot, add the beef and begin to sear on all sides.  You may need to work in batches depending on the size of your pot. (Photo #3)
  2. After 5-6 minutes the beef should be seared and can be moved to a plate.  Repeat the process for subsequent batches of beef. (Photo #4)
  3. Crush 1 1/2 tablespoons of black peppercorns with a mallet and add to the oil and cook for 30 seconds.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and add 1 750ml bottle of chianti. (Photo #5) 
  4. Once bubbling, dislodge the brown bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven by scraping with a wooden spoon.  Let the wine bubble for 2-3 minutes then turn the heat down to medium-low. (Photo #6)
Recipe process shot collage group number two showing pepper cooking in pot then with beef added back and wine and after braising.
  1. Return the seared beef and garlic cloves to the pot and cover with the lid.  Cook for 90 minutes completely covered.  During this time you can check to see if anything is sticking to the bottom of the pot, but this likely won’t happen as long as you are using a heavy lid. (Photo #7)
  2. Remove the lid and cook for another 60-90 minutes or until the beef is tender.  Be sure to stir the meat every so often and check for tenderness.  The meat should be tender but not falling apart.  If you wish to thicken the sauce, first remove the beef and place it on a plate.  Reduce the liquid in the pot by bringing it to a boil.  If the sauce thickness is to your liking, there’s no need to reduce it and you can skip the boiling step and serve with crusty Italian bread, polenta, or mashed potatoes.  (Photo #8) Enjoy!
Peposo in white bowl.

Top tips

  • The pepper.  Since pepper is one of the main ingredients of Peposo, it is imperative that you use coarse freshly ground pepper.  I would advise against using preground pepper that comes in a pepper shaker type of container.  Using a meat mallet to grind whole black peppercorns is a great option, or you can use a coarse grind setting on a peppermill.  A mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder work great too.
  • The wine.  Chianti or any Super Tuscan or Sangiovese wine would be perfect for this Tuscan stew.  Alternatively, you could use a cabernet.  
  • The sauce.  The sauce that’s left after cooking the beef is pretty thin and that is how it is served traditionally.  However, if you prefer a thicker sauce you can bring the sauce up to a boil and allow the sauce to reduce, or you can create a slurry with cornstarch to thicken the sauce.  
  • The beef. Chuck roast is fatty so if you’d like to remove some of the fat from the dish, you can start by trimming some of the fat from the chuck.  You can also remove some of the fat by skimming the top with a slotted spoon, or by using a bulb baster to remove it. When cooking the beef you want it to be tender but not falling apart so be sure to check the tenderness, especially during the last hour of cooking, to prevent it from breaking down too much.
  • Making ahead.  Peposo, much like other stews or soups, will taste better the next day after the flavors have had a few hours to meld in the fridge.  If you’d like to make ahead, the stew will be good in the fridge for up to 3 days and you can simply reheat on the stovetop.
  • Serving the peposo. Traditionally, peposo is served with crusty bread.  It’s also fantastic served over creamy polenta, as pictured below, or roasted garlic mashed potatoes.   A nice sauteed green like garlicky spinach, or broccoli rabe would be a perfect side. 
Blue plate with Tuscan beef stew on polenta and fork.

More great recipes

If you have enjoyed this Tuscan black pepper stew, I think you’ll also love these other great recipes.

  • Italian beef stew – also known as spezzatino di manzo, this stew is made with beef, onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, red wine, and rosemary.
  • Guinness beef stew – chunks of beef, carrots, and potatoes stewed with Guinness, beef broth, and fresh thyme.
  • Beef Bourguignon – beef braised in red wine with carrots, pearl onions, mushrooms, and herbs.
  • Brasato al Barolo – beef brisket braised in red wine.
  • Short rib ragu with pappardelle – short ribs braised in tomato and wine, tossed with pasta, and topped with Parmigiano Reggiano.

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Peposo

4.92 from 59 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Peposo is a hearty Tuscan stew of beef that's braised in chianti and black pepper until tender and served with crusty bread.

Ingredients 

  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck roast cut into chunks
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 750ml bottle chianti
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse black pepper crushed with a mallet

Instructions 

  • Using paper towels, pat the beef chunks very dry. Season with salt on all sides.
  • Heat a large Dutch oven to medium heat. Add the olive oil and the garlic to the pot and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the cloves turn lightly golden. Remove the garlic cloves but save them for later.
  • Add the beef without crowding the pan (work in batches). Sear the beef on all sides (about 5-6 minutes total) then place the pieces onto a plate. Repeat for subsequent batches.
  • Add the black pepper to the oil and cook for 30 seconds. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the red wine. Once bubbling, scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Let the wine bubble for 2-3 minutes then turn the heat down to medium-low.
  • Return the seared beef and garlic cloves to the pot and cover with the lid. Cook for 90 minutes completely covered then remove the lid and continue to cook for another 60-90 minutes or until tender. Make sure to stir the meat every so often and to check for tenderness. The meat should be tender but not falling apart.
  • Once the meat is tender you can remove it to a plate and reduce the liquid in the pot by bringing it to a boil. If the liquid is thick enough to your liking, just skip the boiling step and serve with crusty Italian bread, polenta, or mashed potatoes. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Makes 4 large or 6 moderate-size servings.
  • Cooking time will vary.  Cook until the meat is very tender but not to the point that it falls apart. 
  • The sauce can be degreased by skimming the top or by using a bulb baster.  Cutting away some of the initial fat from the chuck will also help.  
  • Traditionally the sauce is quite thin, but if you like it on the thicker side remove the meat at the end of cooking and bring the pot to a boil.  The liquid will reduce and thicken.  Alternatively, if you want more sauce, thicken it with a bit of cornstarch.
  • Peposo tastes even better the next day.  Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the fridge and can be reheated on the stovetop or microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 772kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.1g | Protein: 86.1g | Fat: 28.2g | Saturated Fat: 8.2g | Cholesterol: 253mg | Sodium: 1359mg | Potassium: 1327mg | Sugar: 1.5g | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 54mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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125 Comments

  1. Hi James. I made Peposa a couple of days ago and while it was delicious, there wasn’t much sauce. The sauce I did have was very thick. I didn’t/couldn’t cook it any longer than the first 90 minutes because it was very thick at this stage. I’d like to try it again but what went wrong?

    1. Hi Cathy, thanks for the comment! Jim suggests making sure the lid on your Dutch Oven is tightly closed. If the lid is tightly closed you shouldn’t experience much evaporation as Jim shows in the video. If you don’t have a lid that stays tightly closed you may want to add a little water or more wine in the future to make up for the liquid. We hope this helps!

  2. 5 stars
    Another fabulous recipe – thanks Jim and Tara !

    I had never heard of this dish until I found it on your website. You are absolutely correct about the great smell that pervades the kitchen and about it being better the second day ! Day 2 was also the first tie that I have ever made and eaten polenta , so a big thumbs up from the Irishman in France.

  3. Hi James

    I’ve used many, many, of your recipes and always with great success, until Peposo. I used 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse black pepper, crushed it, and added it to the dish. I love pepper, but the amount of pepper was overwhelming. The dish was inedible. Should it be 1 1/2 teaspoons? Or where did I go wrong?

    1. Hi Thomas, this is a pepper-forward dish – it’s a black pepper stew, so the 1 1/2 tablespoons is correct. The cooking process does mellow out the flavor of the pepper. If you want to try it again, you can certainly reduce the amount of pepper and see if you have better luck.

  4. 5 stars
    Jim,
    I love your recipes! I frequently “tweak” them a little to; fit my desired taste profile, accommodate the foods and spices I have, and ease of preparation with my cooking utensils.

    Yesterday I served your Peposo recipe. It was truly outstanding and one of the best all time recipes on the resulting taste and quality VS. cost and effort scale!

    The Peposo was prepared per your recipe with the following tweaks:
    – only had 3/4 bottle of chianti so used that plus 1/4 bottle Martini & Rossi red vermouth (the
    vermouth is excellent to use in cooking, You should try it)
    -added 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme at start of cooking
    -the two 90 minute cooking sessions were done in 285 F oven instead of stovetop It came out
    perfect, was easier, and eliminated the occasional stirring to prevent hot spot burning
    -towards the end of cooking dissolved 1 1/2 Tablespoon corn starch in 1/2 C milk to improve the
    body and appearance of the sauce

    I served this wonderful dish with creamy mashed potatoes and French Sourdough Baguette. I would like to try it with creamy risotto.
    Please keep up your good work and keep us informed of updates and suggestions on your previous recipes!

    Esten Spears -Florida

    1. Hi Tim, Sorry to hear you weren’t successful here. There should definitely not be a sour flavor as cooking it for hours yields a smooth mellow flavor. Perhaps the wine you used spoiled.

  5. 5 stars
    I love beef stew. Of all the beef stews I have made/eaten, this is simply the BEST! Love, love, love your Peposo recipe!

    1. 5 stars
      Oh. Good. Lord. Jim!
      Absolutely fantastic! I doubled the recipe because there are 6 of us. We almost didn’t need to cook the last hour uncoveted, it was soooo good! Thank you for sharing!