Impruneta-style peppery beef stew
Ingredients for 4:
500 g stewing beef – 6 cloves of garlic – 3 ripe tomatoes – 4 slices of unsalted stale bread – salt and pepper
Cut the stewing beef up into small pieces and place it in a fairly deep pan. Chop the garlic, peel the tomatoes and cut them up into fairly large pieces, taking care to remove the seeds to get rid of the acid taste, then add both to the meat in the pan. Add salt and, as the recipe name suggests, plenty of pepper: at least a tablespoonful is recommended. Cover with water and cook over a low heat for two or three hours, during which the ingredients should be mixed occasionally. If the stew is becoming too dry, add some water. While the meat is cooking, toast the slices of stale bread. Just before serving, arrange the slices on the plates and spoon the stew over them.
A number of variants of this recipe are commonly found, with the substantial difference being the type of meat used, which ranges from hare to boar. For a more audacious departure from the standard recipe, add a dash of Chianti or Sangiovese to the stew when it begins to dry out to enhance the aroma of the dish. Other ideas include the addition of a laurel leaf or two, or a few juniper berries.