Today is Pepper Pot Day, and I had to do some research to better understand what Pepper Pot is. Traditionally, Pepper Pot is a soup made with vegetables and tripe and seasoned with peppercorns that often contains dumplings. There are many Pepper Pot recipes with a Caribbean vibe that include the use of cassareep, which is made from the sap of the cassava.
(image from www.recipe.dominica-weekly.com)
Here is a recipe for a version of a Guyana Pepper Pot, from RecipeZaar.com:
Guyana Pepper Pot
Cook's Note: Pepper pot, the national dish of Guyana, is an Amerindian meat stew which uses cassareep. Cassareep is a preservative made from grated cassava and flavoured with cinnamon and brown sugar. The Amerindians developed cassareep as a way of preserving meats in the days before refrigeration. Do not refrigerate leftovers. This dish develops flavour when left over a period of days. If not refrigerated, it MUST be reheated to a boil every day. In the early days, a pepperpot was always in the kitchen, and more meat was added to it each day, keeping the pot going for years. This recipe has been halved from the original.
Serves 12 , 1 pot (change servings and units)
1 lb stewing beef or beef brisket
1 lb pork, trotters (or cow's heels) (optional)
1/2 lb pigs tail (optional)
1/2 cup amerindian seasoning (cassareep)
1 red hot pepper
1 cinnamon stick (1 in x 1 in)
1 ounce sugar
2 stalks basil
1 bunch fine fresh thyme
1 large chopped onion
3 chopped garlic cloves
Soak pig tails and scald.
Cook cow heel or trotters in covered pan with water to boil.
When half tender add all the other meats hot water to cover.
Add all other ingredients and simmer gently for about one hour until meat is tender.
Adjust flavor with salt and sugar.
Note: This dish develops flavor when left over a period of days. If left unrefrigerated, it must be reheated to a boil every day.
Pepperpot is popularly served with dense bread and butter, though it is equally as good with rice or roti.
There is also a version called Philadelphia Pepper Pot, and this stew has its origins in the American Revolutionary War. According to Wikipedia, " Pepper Pot is a thick stew of beef tripe, vegetables, pepper and other seasonings...the winter of 1777–1778 in Valley Forge was exceptionally harsh. Farmers in the area sold their food to the British for cash rather than the weak continental currency offered by George Washington's soldiers. The Continental Army was running low on food, and survived on a stew made of tripe, vegetables, and whatever else they could find to stay alive."
Here is a recipe for traditional Philadelphia Pepper Pot that sounds simply divine enjoyed on a cold night in a cozy home from About.com:
Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup Recipe
By Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, About.com
Tripe, veal, and vegetables combine to make a thick, hearty soup traditionally known as pepper pot. Do not be deterred by the list of ingredients. This soup is quite easy to make. It does require about 2-1/2 hours of slow simmering, so plan ahead.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
1-1/2 pounds beef honeycomb tripe
3 teaspoons salt
Water with 1 Tablespoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 whole onion, studded with 3 cloves
1 rib celery, sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thin
1 leek (about 1 cup), washed, sliced, including tender green part
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 small meaty veal knuckle
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder or cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf, broken in half
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups 1/2-inch-diced potatoes
1 cup evaporated milk or heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tablespoons water
1/3 cup butter for garnish
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Rinse tripe under cold water. Drain and place on a cutting board. Sprinkle with salt and rub into tripe to clean the crevices. Rinse again to remove salt.
Place tripe in a 3-quart saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches, with the tablespoon of salt stirred in. Slowly bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Drain tripe and let cool. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.
Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter, chopped onions, whole onion, celery, carrots, leeks, and bell pepper. Stir to coat the vegetables, cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.
Add broth and water to the pot, along with the veal knuckle, tripe, garlic, chile powder, bay leaf, oregano, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1-1/2 hours.
Remove the veal knuckle and pick off the meat, cutting any large pieces down to bite size. Discard the whole onion. Return the veal meat to the pot, along with potatoes, evaporated milk, and parsley. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Stir in cornstarch mixture and simmer 2 to 3 minutes until slightly thickened.
Swirl butter into the hot soup until melted and immediately ladle into bowls to serve. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Yield: 6 servings
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