Tuesday, February 21, 2012


A Tuscan idea that works well with Nero d'Avola, spicy shiraz or a richer style of sangiovese.

Take a kilo of beef shin and dice it into cubes of an inch or bigger. Crush six cloves of garlic. Grind a tablespoon of black pepper. Mix that all together, then add some tomato puree (130 grams is good) and 250ml of red wine. Touch it up with a bit of sea salt, then transfer to a heavy-based pan. Pour in enough water to cover the meat and cook at a gentle simmer, uncovered, for three and a half hours. Or until it is very tender. Stir occasionally to stop it catching and top up the water from time to time. There should be almost no liquid at the end.

Goes well with bread and a green salad. The pepper is the key to the distinctive flavour of the dish. It's one dish that shows really well with low or un-salted bread in the Tuscan style.

This was an idea I got from a good book on artisanal businesses in Tuscany (including the potter for whom this dish goes with the hottest time in the kiln-firing): Lori De Mori & Jason Lowe, 'The real flavour of Tuscany: Portraits & recipes from 25 of Tuscany's culinary artisans'. Worth a look, including for portraits of two Tuscan wine growers (Contini Bonacossi & Fonterenza).

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