Christmas is my favorite time of year for many reasons, but most particularly because of the delicious foods and baked goods that most Guyanese homes are filled with at Christmas time. Pepperpot is a rich meat stew that has been handed down to us from our Amerindian ancestors (Ameridians are the indigenous people of Guyana). It is traditionally eaten with bread (I prefer homemade) on Christmas morning. My favorite childhood Christmas memory is waking up to the smell of pepperpot and bread on Christmas morning. Pepperpot making is a real labor of love. The best tasting pepperpot simmers for hours, even days before being served. Mine takes about 6 hours, but most of the time it’s on the stove simmering away and you don’t have much to do.
This recipe requires a pressure cooker, but for those who don’t own one or feel comfortable using one, scroll to the “Tips and Ramblings” section of the post for tips on what to do it you don’t have a pressure cooker.
As a side note, I also wanted to thank everyone for their continued support, emails and recipe requests. It is becoming increasingly difficult to blog on a regular basis, but I am hanging in there. I promise to get to all of your requests as soon as I can. Much love and Merry Christmas to all!
Once everything has been marinating for at least 30 minutes, we can start the long but wonderful pepperpot cooking process…
Now we are ready to get the pot boiling…
It took about 1.5hrs combined to cook the oxtail and the cow heel. While they were pressure cooking, the beef was simmering to a delicious rich and tender stew.
Pepperpot is better when it sits for at least 12 hours in the gravy before serving. Most people make their pepperpot on Christmas even, let it sit overnight, reheat it and then serve it Christmas morning. There is no need to refrigerate your pepperpot, just keep it on the stove top and keep reheating it twice daily, once in the morning and then at night before you go to bed.
Pepperpot (serves about 8 generous servings)
1.5 lbs Beef (I used a chuck roast, then cut it into 1 inch cubes)
2 lbs Oxtail
3lbs Cow Heel (may also be called cow feet in some supermarket)
1 cup cassareep (divided into 2)
1/2 cup brown sugar + about 1/4 cup for the end.
1 large yellow onions diced
6 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tsp cayenne powder
5 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp granulated garlic
3 wiri wiri peppers
1 tbsp whole clobes
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp dried Guyanese thyme
About 4 tbsp oil
First, season the oxtail using 1/3 of the sugar and all the other ingredients, except the cinnamon, cloves and wiri wiri pepper. Use 1/3 of 1/2 of the cassareep and reserve the other 1/2 to use later. Do not add the onion and garlic. Mix everything together and let sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Follow the same steps to marinade the beef and cow heel. In a large stock pot saute 1/3 of the onion and garlic on high heat, in about 2 tbsp of oil. Then add seasoned beef, cinnamon, cloves and wiri wiri pepper. Saute beef until all pieces are brown all over. Once the meat is nice and brown, add about 6 cups of water to the beef, bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to low and let simmer.
Warm about 1 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker on high heat, then add oxtail and 1/3 of onion and garlic. Saute oxtail until brown, then add 5 cups of water to the pressure cooker. Cover and pressure cook until oxtail is tender but not completely falling off the bone. Follow the same steps to pressure cook the cow heel, as you did with the oxtail. Now add the oxtail to the beef and mix together.Then add the cow heel to the oxtail and beef combination and mix together.After you have combined all the meat add about 2 to 3 cups more water, just enough to cover the meat. Then add the 1/2 cup of cassareep we reserved in the beginning. Increase the heat to high and bring pot to a roaring boiling. Let boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, reduce heat to low and simmer until all the meat is falling off the bone tender, about 2.5 hrs. Taste pepperpot and added about 1/4 cup brown sugar and a pinch of salt, if needed. Cut open the wiri wiri peppers for additional heat. Serve and Enjoy.
Tips and Ramblings
1. I know there are many different ways to make pepperpot, this is the method I have perfected over the years. I have definitely had the pepperpot right out the pot, immediately after it has finished cooking, but pepperpot is like fine wine, it gets better with age.
2. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, don’t worry. All you have to do is cook the most time consuming meats first. So I would put the oxtail and cow heel to cook first. When they are half way cooked I would then add the beef and let everything slow cook until everything is falling off the bone soft. I would even venture to say, you could make pepperpot in a slow cooker. I don’t own one but if I did logic says, it would work just fine.
3. As with anything you cook, taste and adjust the seasoning along the way, some may need more salt or pepper to their taste.
4. Someone out there didn’t want you guys to get this recipe. I swear. While cooking some pepperpot pitch up in mah eye and almost blinded me. I almost left everything and went my way. Then while editing I got hit with a massive and crippling migraine. I feel terrible that I couldn’t get it to you guys sooner, but alas, here it is.
Happy Cooking All!