Tuscan Peppercorn Stew

Anxious to work with beef short ribs more often after the success of my Best Braised BBQ Shortribs, I was happy to find this recipe in the Jan-Feb 2015 issue of Cooks Illustrated.  As I’ve come to expect from one of my favorite cooking resources, it did not disappoint.

This stew is all about the meat and sauce as the aromatics used for flavor are discarded after the long braise in the oven.  Think of it as the Italian version of Beef Bourguignon. The bottle of Chianti makes for a rich tangy sauce with warm heat and spice from the freshly cracked peppercorns.  Author Andrew Janjigian notes that an inexpensive or mid priced Chianti is just fine here ($5 – $12) no need to go pricier. Being the good southern girl that I am, I’ve served it here with creamy grits.  But polenta or mashed potatoes would also suit…or perhaps just a big green salad and a loaf of crusty Italian bread.

Comfort food for a cold winter’s night indeed.

 

Tuscan Peppercorn Stew

Serves 6-8
By author margaret at The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4lb boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 bottle Chianti ((750-ml))
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 shallots (peeled and halved lengthwise)
  • 2 carrots (peeled and halved lengthwise)
  • 1 head garlic (cloves separated, unpeeled and crushed)
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns (cracked, plus extra for serving)
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch

Directions

1. Toss beef and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt together in bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium high heat until just smoking. Add beef in a single layer (in batches if necessary) and brown on all sides. Stir in 2 cups of the wine, water, shallots, carrots, garlic, rosemary bay leaves, cracked peppercorns, gelatin, tomato paste, and anchovy paste. Bring to a simmer and cover tightly with a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil, then the lid. Transfer to the oven and cook until beef is tender, 2 to 2 1/4 hours, stirring halfway through the cooking time.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to bowl; cover tightly with foil and set aside. Strain sauce through fine mesh strainer into a fat separator. (if you don't have a fat separator, you can let the stock sit in the frig for a bit so the fat will rise to the top and you can remove it with a spoon) Clean the pot. Return the defatted stock to the pot, add 1 cup wine and the group black pepper and bring mixture to a boil over med-high heat. Simmer until sauce has thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
4. Combine remaining wine and cornstarch in a small bowl, Reduce heat to med-low, return beef to pot and stir in cornstarch-wine mixture. Cover and simmer until just heated through, 5-8 minutes, Season with salt to taste. Serve with extra cracked peppercorns.

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