Pepperpot

Pepperpot

Guyana’s national dish, this highly spiced meat stew gets
its dark colour from cassareep – syrup derived from
cassava root – and its fiery kick from Caribbean chillies.

Origins
Pepperpot is an Amerindian dish, invented by Guyanese natives as a way to preserve meat without refrigeration. The cassareep acts as a preservative, allowing cooksto leave the pepperpot on the stove for days to add more and reheat. Traditionally, it is made in a special pot (also called a pepper pot) that retains and imparts flavour from one stew to the next. Legend has it that if you double-dip, the whole batch will spoil!

You’ll need
1kg (2lb) stewing beef, cubed
1kg (2lb) ox tail, goat or
mutton, cubed
Water
1 cup (250mL) cassareep
(available in West Indian
speciality stores or online)
2 red peppers, seeded
2.5cm (1in) piece dried orange
or lemon peel
2.5cm (1in) piece of cinnamon
stick
3 cloves
60g (2oz) sugar
Salt to taste
Bread to serve

Cooking Method
1 Place the meat in a large pot, adding enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, skim, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour.
2 Add the other ingredients, simmering until the meat is tender, up to 3 hours.
3 Serve with bread.

Tasting notes
In Guyana, pepperpot is best known as a Christmas dish, its rich, spicy scent perfuming the house on Christmas Eve and into Christmas morning. Extended families gather round the pot for servings of the glossy brown stew, the meat so tender it’s falling off the bone. Sop up the juices with a slice of soft homemade plait bread, a braided loaf that resembles Jewish challah. The spice of the chilli warms the back of your throat as you gobble spoonful after spoonful, savouring the deep, complex flavour. If you’re not lucky enough to be invited to a Guyanese Christmas, a handful of restaurants in the nation’s capital of Georgetown serve the labour-intensive dish.

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