Pandora’s Box Christmas Dishes: Guyanese Pepperpot Recipe

Photo By | Asar John

By Asar John

Whether it’s music, candy canes, movies or mistletoe, whatever it may be that gets you in the Christmas spirit—start preparing.  Christmas is around the corner and coming sooner than you think!  We all have our favorite traditions and look forward to the holidays for these reasons. However, if you’re looking for something new to add to your Christmas tradition, look no further than Pandora’s Box!

Whenever I think about Christmas, countless ideas come to mind. Growing up it was mostly the anticipation of new toys written on my Christmas list, ripping their encased wrapping paper apart and getting to tinker with them for the rest of Christmas break. Now as an adult, it’s all about traditional Christmas dishes. I’m not talking about ham, cranberry sauce and eggnog—but pepperpot with fresh baked bread, garlic pork and rum cake. I always enjoyed these traditional Guyanese dishes as a kid but it’s a lot more anticipated now more than ever before. 

Waking up Christamas morning to the smell of the hearty dark-colored beef stew known as pepperpot, was always a delight. For some historical context, pepperpot is a dish native to the country of Guyana, with its main components of the dish created from the Arawak tribe Amerindians of the nation. When Amerindians first discovered the cassava plant, people of the tribes would grate it to make cassava flour and dispose of the liquid from the root. However, they learned that the root could be used as a preservative after being left out in the sun and turning dark brown. This dark brown preservative came to be known as cassareep. As a result of its long lasting properties, pepperpot can be left out for several days without being refrigerated. 

GUYANESE PEPPERPOT RECIPE

(A

  MADE WITH ABOUT 8 LBS. OF VARIOUS MEAT: (Actually Any Meat will do, such as Pork or smoked Turkey)

(B

          INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs.  —   Beef (Chuck, brisket or bottom round) cut into cubes 

2 Lbs.   —   Cow feet

2lbs.    —   Ox tails

½ lb.    —   Salted Beef   (optional)

1 lb.     —   Salted Pig Tails (optional)

2ea.   —   Ham Hocks (optional) cut into halves

1 cup   —    Cassareep or a bit  more for taste

1 tbsp. —   Salt

1 tbsp.  —   Black pepper

1 tbsp. —   Soy Sauce

2 oz.      –   Sugar

1lg.     —   Onion

3.   —   Cloves of Garlic

4-6 Sprigs   —   Thyme

2 Hot Peppers   —  Scotch Bonnet or Habanero 

2ea.         — Bay Leaves

1Pc.  —      Cinnamon Stick 2”- 4” long  

3ea.  —   Whole Cloves

        2-3 tbsp.  —   Cooking oil

       1pc.    – Orange Rind 4-6 inches long

C )   

 METHOD:

.  Clean Meat

.  Cut or pre cut into 2” pieces

.  Season Beef, Oxtails & Cow feet with Salt, black pepper & Soy Sauce

. Other meat (salted Beef, pigtails & ham hocks) may have to be soaked in cold water 1-2 hrs to get rid of excess salt

.  Saute all meat to a golden brown (If done separately, may be better)

.  Add all meat into a large pot add cassareep, cover with water, bring to boil then reduce to simmer 

.  Finely chop onion and garlic add to pot and stir 

.  Add all other ingredients stir in, cover and allow to cook for 3-4 hours or until meat is tender 

. Taste for flavor of salt, sugar and cassareep add if needed. Skim excess fat if necessar by y    

Note: Cow feet and sometimes oxtails take longer to get tender; you may want to add them before the other meats. Either choice will be fine.

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