Beef stew gets kicked up a notch with this one. I love good wintery soups and this one meets my needs for tender beef, flavourful sauce and easy prep...
The origins of this dish are still being debated. One version has the recipe dating all the way back to the 15th century, when the construction of the Santa Maria del Fiore Dome was underway in Renaissance Florence, under the careful watch of architect and genius Filippo Brunelleschi.
Ever concerned about what to do for lunch, the workers handling the placement of the Dome's rooftop tiles had the brilliant idea of using the ovens where the tiles were baked to also prepare this tasty meat dish.
Another version has terracotta workers wives in Impruneta making the dish to provide hearty, nutritious meals for the workers toiling in the terracotta factories. Whatever its origins, we do know that the dish is still very popular in today's Tuscany. Contrary to the name (which translates literally into very spicy), the modern version is not typically brimming with spice. Why don't you give this traditional Tuscan recipe a shot and see how it works with your modern-day workers in your own home?!
This brilliant second course is a terrific way to begin with a lesser-valued cut of beef and turn it into a magical dish that will have your diners in pure rapture.
Not a complex dish, or overly long cooking times (you might even want to test out the slow cooker idea and prepare it overnight) make it accessible for even shorter lead-time notices. It's not a recipe for last minute dinners as the stew does require at least 2 hours cooking time, but with just a small warning, you can knock it out of the park for chillier winter dinners around a convivial family table.
for 4 servings
Peel carrot and onion, and finely dice each, set aside. Wash and finely dice celery, set aside. Remove meat from any bones, if present, and chop into coarse cubes, set aside.
Generously coat bottom of sauce pot with good-quality extra-virgin olive oil. Heat over medium heat, until shimmering and fragrant. Add chopped vegetables, and cook until softened (aboout 5 minutes) being careful vegetables don't burn (if they begin to cook unevenly, lower heat). Set aside while you sear the meat Add cubed meat when vegetables begin to cook through.
Sear meat on all sides, browning to keep the juices inside the meat. When browned on all sides, add the freshly-milled pepper and the vegeatables you previously set aside.
A note on beef cuts to use: You can substitute beef rump with shinbone veal. This is a good dish to use with harder cuts of meat needing longer braising or stewing times.
Continue cooking over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add red wine, season to taste with salt.
Cover dish with lid, and lower heat until very low and stew is simmering gently. Cook for at least 2 hours - if you note that stew begins to look too dry, add a bit of room-temperature broth or water and stir to remove bits stuck to bottom of pan.
At the two-hour cooking mark, check to see if your stew is complete. Meat should be completely cooked through and tender, and sauce should be thickened.
Serve hot with toasted Tuscan bread under stew for an extra surprise!
Nina Saturday 18th of April 2020
Perfect for the winter
Beef stew gets kicked up a notch with this one. I love good wintery soups and this one meets my needs for tender beef, flavourful sauce and easy prep. It's a keeper!