Several years ago, Chris and I took a dream trip to Italy. We visited the churches and markets and museums of Firenze, roamed the countryside of Toscana, and we loitered in the cafes of Venezia. It was a magnificent vacation, and one we will treasure forever.
I always think a good way to remember a place is by its food. In Tuscany, we stayed in a little bed and breakfast just outside of Castellina in Chianti. The town is surrounded by olive groves and wineries and is just breathtakingly beautiful. One afternoon, we stopped in a little roadside restaurant and had a superb meal. (We ended up having dinner there the next night, too!)
I can't remember all of it, but I know I had a wonderful asparagus gratin and a rich, peppery beef stew called Peposo. The dish was so simple and delicious. When we returned home, I looked up the recipe, but I never took the time to make it. Last week, I finally got around to it, and we were not disappointed. It was just as we remembered, and we sat over our meal sharing memories of our trip.
2 lbs beef, cubed for stew
10 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp sea salt
1 scant Tbsp black peppercorns
1 bottle (750 ml) decent red wine
Crack the peppercorns in a mortar. Put the beef, garlic, salt, and cracked pepper in a large pot. Pour the wine over the meat, and bake in a 350 degree oven for about three hours.
I don't have a mortar and pestle, so I just put the peppercorns in a sandwich bag and smashed them a bit with a rolling pin. Oh, and I used Chianti for the wine, since that's more authentic for the region. I also took the lazy route, and cooked this in a crockpot for five hours, then finished it in the oven for about an hour.
I remembered the sauce being thicker, so I added a tablespoon of cornstarch to about 1/4 cup of water and whisked until it was smooth. Then I removed a bit of the sauce from the pot, added the cornstarch, and poured it all back into the pot.
This dish has a strong flavor, so something simple like Little Stars and a vegetable would round out the meal nicely.
Lisa hosts Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays over at Blessed with Grace. Visit her for more yummy recipes!