December 11, 2012

A Stew for All Seasons- Peposo

I don't eat a lot of meat, but when I do, I want the best.

I an very lucky to be able to have a choice of several great butchers in various towns near me. Often, I make a day-trip out of shopping and head over the hills and through the woods to Panzano in Chianti.
One of Italy's most famous butchers lives there, Dario Cecchini.

I worked at the shop myself for about 2 years, just when Dario was starting to get real international recognition, thanks to Faith Willinger's Guide book and more local recognition, as he started to appear on TV.

Like most artisans here in italy, Dario works in his family business. He is the last of the Cecchini's.
But he is passing on his skills to young talented butchers from all over the world.

I wanted to make a nice pot of boiled meat today to have broth and meat to recreate my husband's favorite meals this week. Traditionally we make bollito misto for Christmas and then have the meat to prepare in several different recipes during the week.  I bought the meat to make the bollito misto, but as we were talking, saw Dario start to prepare a huge pot of something.

Besides the butcher shop, he has opened two restaurants. Solociccia was the first, across the street, which used the cuts of meat that were not so popular. The Tuscan T-bone, is famous cut of meat here, but Dario buys whole cows, and created the restaurant to use the lesser know cuts to serve as his family did when he was growing up. Whole Cow dinners.

Dario serves several great recipes at Solociccia, one of my favorites is his Tuscan Roast Beef, called Arrosto Fiorentino, using the eye of round. Another classic recipe from Chianti is Peposo from Impruneta, a slow cooked stew using red wine, garlic and black pepper traditionally. ( I add chili peppers to mine and Dario adds chili powder. Personalize yours too)

In his book HEAT, Bill Buford wrote Dario's overnight recipe, not really practical for home use. As you see in the above foto, Dario makes a TON.

I prefer to use beef cheeks if you can get them, they have a wonderful consistency in this recipe, otherwise, any tougher cut of meat you would use for stewing is ok. Boned beef shanks work well.

It is a simple recipe to put together and just let cook nice and slow.

This is one of those recipes I make when I have time and save to eat for another day.

Here is the recipe for Il Peposo on my website, you can see the foto of the meat raw and then also cooked, the rich flavor of cooking it just in red wine with the pepper, garlic and chili almost gives it a BBQ sauce flavor.

You can eat like a stew, in cubes, or let it really cook and fall apart into almost a pulled pork sort of sauce and serve on bread.

You don't need to slow cook in the oven, you can also use a crockpot or slow cook stovetop.

It is one of my favorite stews, make it and share with loved ones and a HUGE red wine!!!
The chili peppers and black pepper hold up to a big wine!

Perfect for the holidays.

You can still order my "Market Boy Calendar" for xmas-- or my cookbook!


  1. Bentornata! Mi sei mancata.

  2. It sounds delicious! Wishing you a Merry Christmas,

  3. What a wonderful post! And you are right - looking at that photo, he sure does make a ton!

  4. i love Dario - my mom is the one that turned me on to your blog when we were going to Tuscany - and we heard of Dario from here. He makes amazing meat dishes, we had so much fun with him and the experience really made the trip - can't wait to try this recipe. Big fan of chianti or a stout in my stew