Tucked away between two laneways on the edge of the city in Surry Hills, Alberto’s Lounge is an intimate, buzzy trattoria offering modern Italian cuisine. Head Chef, Dan Johnston has created something comforting to share with cooler weather in mind. Peposo is a rich, heavily peppered beef stew from Tuscany, made with the local red wine.
1kg beef cheek
30g ground pepper
3 brown onions
2 sticks of celery
200g mushrooms, sliced
60g tomato paste
750ml red wine
6 bay leaves
1 litre chicken stock
Marinate the beef cheeks with half the pepper, more than you think is healthy, and some salt. Leave to sit for an hour or so while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 150C
Peel and slice the onion and carrot and slice the celery. In a wide shallow pot sauté the vegetables over a medium to high heat, getting some nice deep, golden brown colour action, around 10 mins, then reduce the heat and cook for a further 10 mins or until soft and sweet.
While the veg is cooking, saute the mushroom in a little olive oil in a pan over high heat to get some good colour, about 2-3 mins. Add the mushrooms to the pot of vegetables.
Add the tomato paste to the pot and continue to cook out for another few minutes. Pour in all the wine and bring to the boil, turn down a little and continue cooking till the wine has been reduced to about half.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan sear the beef till deeply coloured on both sides. Do in batches, carful not to overcrowd the pan.
As the beef is ready place into an oven roasting dish that is large enough to hold all the meat.
Once all the beef is seared, pour over the vegetables and wine mix and enough chicken stock to just cover the meat. Cover tightly with a lid or foil and place in the preheated oven. Make an aperitio, grab a book, you’ve got about 3 hours.
Check the braise occasionally, you want the meat tender and soft but not completely falling apart at the sight of a tong.
When ready, let cool down a little and lift the meat out of the pan. Strain the braising liquor through a fine strainer and taste. It should be rich and hot with pepper. Add more pepper then pour back over the meat.
Serve with some roasted button mushroom and maybe a side of polenta.