With the official start of fall fast approaching and a break in the summer heat, I started thinking that it was time to dust off the ole’ Crock Pot and start cooking up some cool weather comfort food. Coincidentally, as thoughts of my own Crock Pot entered my conscious, I was inundated with Crock Pot chatter from my neighbors, co-workers and Facebook posts. I happened upon two Facebook pages that celebrate the joys of Crock Pot meals. The first, is a page called “Crock Pot Girls” that posts classic Crock Pot recipes. The second page, “Skinny Crock Pot” sparked my interest, as it features lighter, healthier recipes.

As I looked for inspiration for my recipe this week, I remembered a wonderful beef stew that I had in Italy last summer called “Peposo”. Peposo is a peppery beef stew, cooked in Chianti. This dish dates back to the renaissance and was a favorite of the kiln workers who fabricated tiles for the roof of the Duomo in Florence.
This is a simple recipe for Crock Pot Peposo that tastes great on top of creamy polenta or a slice of toasted ciabatta.
Crock Pot Peposo:

1 Spanish Onion, medium dice

2 Carrots, medium dice

2 Celery Stalks, medium dice

4 Cloves Garlic, minced

3-4 lb Chuck Roast, cut into one inch pieces and trimmed of excess fat

1 14 ounce can of Diced Tomatoes, drained

1 10.5 ounce can of Tomato Puree

1 1/2 cup Chianti

2 TB fresh cracked Black Pepper

2 TSP salt, or to taste

3 Thyme Sprigs

Place onion, carrots, celery and garlic in bottom of Crock Pot. Add the meat on top of the vegetables, followed by the diced tomatoes and tomato puree. Next add the Chianti, salt, pepper and thyme.

Cover pot and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Sauce may be thickened before service with a slurry of 1/4 of cold water and 1 TBSP of cornstarch. Stir in the slurry and cook uncovered until sauce reaches desired thickness.

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