It’s Christmas eve. And while the rest of Atlanta is hustling about, making last minute purchases-I have time to sit, drink wine and write a blog post. Why? Because I’ve finished all of my tasks ahead of time. Not to say that I don’t have anything to do today, but I can do it with leisure. While tipsy. What’s left to do? 1. Bake Bread 2. Vacuum 3. Mop 4. Drink eggnog Ahhhh…life!! Now on to my Pepperpot recipe. This is a must have at Christmas in every Guyanese household. I’ve never gone a Christmas without having a bowl of Pepperpot and homemade bread for breakfast. That’s just the way it is, no exceptions. For those unfamiliar with Pepperpot, I will give a brief lesson on this stew. Pepperpot is the national dish of Guyana, which was originally made by the Amerindians, who used cassareep to preserve meat without using refrigeration. That’s right, this stew can sit out of the fridge as long as you heat it daily. Cassareep, which is the main component of Pepperpot, is a dark syrup that is made from cassava. A variety of meats are stewed with the cassareep, hot pepper and spices such as cinnamon and cloves, the result is a deep, dark, flavorful stew that goes well with bread.
My mom’s beautiful bread from last Christmas
The traditional way of serving this would be with Cassava bread, but I like plain ol’ homemade bread. Our Pepperpot is not to be mistaken with the Pepperpot of Jamaica and other Caribbean islands; if it isn’t made with cassareep, it isn’t Guyanese Pepperpot!! As I leave you today, I wish you all a Merry Christmas.
a few wiri wiri peppers or 1 scotch bonnet if you can't fnd wiri wiri
4 cloves garlic
1 small onion
1 bunch thyme
1 teaspoon of salt, or salt to taste
3 tbsp sugar
Lime juice or vinegar
2 pieces orange peel
1 stick cinnamon
Trim excess fat off meat and soak in vinegar for about 15 to 30 minutes. Puree garlic, onion and thyme. Marinate fresh meat with marinade and 1/3 cup of cassareep.
Meanwhile, in a pressure cooker, place pickled pork and salted beef and pressure for a 10. Discard the water and set meat aside.
Wash cow foot thoroughly by soaked in vinegar for about half an hour. Rinse. Place in pressure cooker and pressure for 20 minutes or until tender. Discard water. *If the cow heel isn't soft after 20 minutes, continue to pressure in 5 minute intervals , checking for tenderness.
In a stock pot, cook beef and pork in marinade until all liquid evaporates. Add the cow foot, pickled pork, salted beef, sugar and remaining cassereep with a stick of cinnamon, cloves, orange peel and enough water to cover. If the stew is brown, add more cassareep to attain a deep, dark color.
Cook slowly until tender. Add pepper and salt to taste. This meal tastes better the next day, so it is best when made a day ahead. To serve this meal, warm and serve with bread.