Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of African, Creole, Cajun, Amerindian, European, Latin American, Indian/South Asian, Middle Eastern, and Chinese. These traditions were brought from many different countries when they came to the Caribbean.In addition, the population has created styles that are unique to the region.One of such foods is PEPPERPOT
Over time, food from the Caribbean has evolved into a narrative technique through which their culture has been accentuated and promoted.
Pepperpot is a popular holiday meat stew in Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean simmered slow and low in a dark rich gravy flavored with cinnamon, brown sugar and cassareep (brown sauce) that makes the dish get better over the time. Uniquely appetizing!
Simmered in huge pots across the Caribbean, this thick and rich stew can include aubergine, okra, squash, potatoes and pretty much anything else that grows in the islands’ rich earth. In Pepperpot, Beef is the most common meat, while fungi – tasty cornmeal dumplings – add texture. It’s called souse in the Bahamas, which may refer to the condition of the cook given that no two recipes or even batches are alike.
Cooking the meat slow and low in a special flavorful sauce makes pepperpot a hit not just to the Guyanese but across the Caribbean. Most people enjoy it as an everyday dish and its not just reserved for Christmas anymore. Also this shouldn’t be confused with the Jamaican pepperpot. It’s made with greens and it’s totally different from this one here.
Pepperpot has different variations but with one thing remains constant – Cassareep.
Cassareep is a thick brown sauce used as a base for pepperpot. It comes from the juice of the cassava root, coupled with additional spices, that are boiled together until it becomes similar to that of a thick molasses reduction. It somehow smells like a burnt sugar.
The cassareep allows the meat to be preserved for days even left out on the stove top without going bad. Truly an unmatched cooking ingredient.
Cassareep can be bought in bottles at local West Indian or Caribbean stores and some Asian stores, too. Make sure to always get the authentic one though.
Marinated Oxtail and Pork
- 4 pounds Meat ( Oxtail and Pork ) , cut in chunks
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- ½ medium onion , large dice (about 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon bouillon powder
- 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 -3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 2 green onions , diced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme , minced
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper
- ¾ – 1 cup cassareep
- 3 cups water less or more
- 1 cinnamon stick , split in half
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place oxtail and pork in a large bowl or ziplock bag then add salt, garlic, thyme, white pepper,onion and bouillon powder, if using any.
- Mix oxtail with a spoon or with hands until they are well coated and inch of the meat is covered. Set aside in the fridge. If possible let it marinate overnight.
- When ready to cook, shake off any excess spice from the meat.
- Place a large Dutch Oven or heavy bottom pan on medium heat, then add sugar, keep stirring until it caramelize and begin to turn deep brown. Be careful not to let it burn.
- Add the pork to the dutch pan and brown to seal in flavors , this might take about 3 minutes. Remove pork from the pan and set aside on a plate.
- Add oxtail and brown, stirring to prevent any burns, until brown. If pot is not to large, do so in batches.
- Throw in the garlic, onions, thyme and scotch bonnet . Continue cooking for about 3-5 minutes.
- Pour in the ½ of the cassareep, thoroughly mix and continue cooking for about 1-2 minutes.
- Next add water to cover the the meat , bring to a boil , reduce heat and let it simmer for for about 40 minutes.
- Return pork to the pot , add the other half of the cassareep , add more water , if needed. Water should not be above the meat.
- Continue cooking for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until beef is tender. Sauce should be thick and beef melting tender.
- Adjust with seasonings to taste.
- Garnish with parsley and serve with bread.
Recipe for pepperpot by @immaculateBites