How to Cook PEPOSO by Brian Azzarello


This is one of the recipes from our forthcoming cook book, COOKING WITH CRIMESPREE. When we first ran this in the magazine I cookedit and it was AMAZING ~ Jon


Brian Azzarello

This is an old Italian recipe – Renaissance old. The masons who fired the tiles for Brunelleschi’s Doumo in Florence originated it and would prepare it in the tile kilns while they were working. This dates it at 1436. That’s cool to me, and just adds an extra bite to an incredibly earthy dish that’s cooked low and slow.
One of the things that I usually enjoy about cooking is the history – recreating moments from the past – usually handed down from Aunt Lou, my Godmother and the Matron saint of my kitchen. This one speaks to that tradition. Uncle Elmer was a brick layer.

2 lbs. beef stew meat
10 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
AT LEAST 2 heaping tbsps. Cracked (not ground) black pepper
2 bottles of Chianti (1 for cooking, 1 for while eating)
A couple sprigs of fresh Rosemary
A couple bay leaves
Salt, to taste

Put all ingredients except the salt in a heavy stew pot then pour in enough wine to cover it all. Put lid on pot and stick in an oven pre-heated to 225 degrees. Now go about your business while it cooks for 8 hours (or more) very gently, so that the liquid in the pot just barley simmers. While it cooks your place is going to smell great, trust me. Check it occasionally – if liquid starts to boil away add a bit more wine and turn down heat. Don’t worry, it will be fine. At the end of the cooking time remove rosemary twigs and bay leaves. Take a fork to it; the meat should fall apart, mingling with liquid and creating a rich gravy. The garlic will have dissolved, but if not bust it up too. Add salt to taste.

Serve over crusty toasted bread rubbed with garlic. Open second bottle of wine and enjoy.

I usually start this about 8 am and let it go all day. Yeah, it takes a long time, but damn if it’s not worth it.