Danielle Alvarez's beef peposo

Beef peposo is a red wine and black pepper braised beef dish from Tuscany.
Beef peposo is a red wine and black pepper braised beef dish from Tuscany. Photo: William Meppem

Some recipes take time or effort or both. This one – a Tuscan dish that involves cooking chunks of beef slowly in red wine, garlic and lots of black pepper – takes a little bit of time (in the form of an overnight marinade), but minimal effort. Plan for it and big flavours will be your ample reward the next day. It’s only made better by serving it atop soft, buttery polenta.

Ingredients

1kg beef chuck, chopped into 2-3cm dice

1 tbsp black peppercorns

2 tsp flaked salt

500ml red wine (chianti or sangiovese preferred; make sure it's something you would drink)

8 garlic cloves, peeled

1 sprig rosemary

2 tbsp tomato paste

soft, cooked polenta to serve

Method

1. Place your diced beef in a mixing bowl.

2. Toast the peppercorns in a small sautee pan over medium heat until they smell fragrant. Tip them into a mortar and pestle and crush them coarsely. (You can also crush them on a chopping board using a small heavy pan if you don't have a mortar and pestle.)

3. Add the peppercorns and all remaining ingredients, except the tomato paste, to the beef and mix until combined. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge overnight.

4. When you're ready to cook, preheat your oven to 155C fan-forced (175C conventional).

5. Tip the entire contents of the bowl, plus the tomato paste and 200ml of water, into a medium-sized, enamel-coated* Dutch oven and bring to a simmer on the stovetop. Stir a few times to incorporate the tomato paste and when it's simmering, put the lid on and pop it into the oven.

6. Cook in the oven for 2 hours, then remove the lid and continue cooking for a further 15-30 minutes until the meat is tender and the liquid reduced.

7. Remove from the oven and serve on top of soft polenta.

*You can also use a stainless-steel pan with a tightly fitting lid; raw cast iron reacts with the wine and tomato.