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.
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!
How to make peposo (Tuscan beef stew)
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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!
- 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.
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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- 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
- 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!
- 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 information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.