Pepperpot… A Traditional Guyanese Christmas Breakfast

Guyanese Pepperpot

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!

The recipe…

For this recipe, I am using: 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 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

For this recipe, I am using:
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
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

First season the oxtail using 1/3 of the sugar and all the other ingredients, except the cinnamon and cloves. 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.

First season the oxtail using 1/3 of the sugar and all the other ingredients, except the cinnamon and cloves. 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 as above to marinade the beef and cow heel

Follow the same steps as above to marinade the beef and cow heel.

Once everything has been marinating for at least 30 minutes, we can start the long but wonderful pepperpot cooking process…

The thing I hate most about some pepperpot is biting into a clove while eating. So I've come up with a solution for that. Place cloves in a 6 inch square of muslin fabric or cheese cloth. Gather up the edges of the fabric and make a knot. Now you have a nice little clove diffuser!!!!

The thing I hate most about some pepperpot is biting into a clove while eating. So I’ve come up with a solution for that. Place cloves in a 6 inch square of muslin fabric or cheese cloth. Gather up the edges of the fabric and make a knot. Now you have a nice little clove diffuser!!!!

Now we are ready to get the pot boiling…

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 and cloves. Saute beef until all pieces are brown all over. Browned meat is delicious when slow cooked. Browning also seals in the flavors of the spices.

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 and cloves. Saute beef until all pieces are brown all over. Browned meat is delicious when slow cooked. Browning also seals in the flavors of the spices. Once 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. This will continue to cook slowly, while we are prepping all the other ingredients.

Now for the oxtail.  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. Some meats take a very long time to cook, I use my pressure cooker to help the process along.

Now for the oxtail.
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. Some meats take a very long time to cook, I use my pressure cooker to help the process along.

Follow the same steps to pressure cook the cow heel, as you did with the oxtail.

Follow the same steps to pressure cook the cow heel, as you did with the oxtail.

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.

Now add the oxtail to the beef and mix together.

Now add the oxtail to the beef and mix together.

Then add the cow heel to the oxtail and beef combination 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. It is also at this point that I 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.

After you have combined all the meat add about 2 to 3 cups more water, just enough to cover the meat. It is also at this point that I 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.

Let pepperpot cook on low to medium heat, until all the meat is falling off the bone tender. This took about 2.5hrs for me. Along the way, I tasted the pepperpot and added about 1/4 cup brown sugar and a pinch of salt. I also made sure the wiri peppers were cut open for additional heat.

Let pepperpot cook on low to medium heat, until all the meat is falling off the bone tender. This took about 2.5hrs for me. Along the way, I tasted the pepperpot and added about 1/4 cup brown sugar and a pinch of salt. I also made sure the wiri peppers were cut open for additional heat.

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.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Pepperpot (serves about 8 generous servings)
Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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!

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29 thoughts on “Pepperpot… A Traditional Guyanese Christmas Breakfast

  1. Anisia says:

    Amazing!! Finally a recipe for Pepperpot. Yuh know the old time folks just say a pinch of this and a dash of that no measurements….LOL Thanks Gurlll!

  2. Ahyodha Kishna says:

    Perfect, Thank You!!!

  3. Millie says:

    Thank you for the delicious recipies. I hope you enjoy a wonderful Christmas.

  4. Merry Christma, my Guyanese family”

  5. ERROL says:

    Thank ya!

  6. Helen Cuan says:

    I left Guyana in 1959, and I have not been able to eat

  7. Dennis says:

    I’d like to know a few things now that I have successfully managed the recipe;
    1. What does cow heel add to the recipe?
    2. Is Pepperpot meant to be very hot? Or was it just me using an alternative pepper to that of the wiri wiri, which I couldn’t find anywhere?
    3. What sould I serve with Pepperpot as part of the meal?

  8. Dennis says:

    3. Should have read “What should I serve with Pepperpot as part of the meal?”

    • Metemgee says:

      You can use scotch bonnet peppers to sub for wiri wiri peppers or even chillies. Pepper pot is meant to be spicy. We typically serve pepperpot with bread but lots of ppl also eat it with white rice. I bet it would be great with rice and peas but I really only like it with bread.

      • Dennis says:

        As it happens, scotch bonnet was what I used in place of the wiri wiri, opened up for full effect.
        As for bread, yes I used plenty of that with Pepperpot, as it helped tone down the ‘heat’ from the peppers.
        You missed the first part of my questions;
        What does cow heel (which has been bleached) add to the recipe?

      • Metemgee says:

        I should have warned that scotch bonnet have a lot of heat. Hope you’re ok. Cow heel adds nothing but fat and gooey deliciousness. It’s a common ingredient in pepper pot. If I leave it out my husband goes crazy but truth be told your arteries can probably do without it.

  9. Dennis says:

    I’d be surprised if cow heel had much fat in it, after being bleached to a white jelly like substance not unlike tripe. What I have noticed is that it does seem to help coagulate the dish, leaving as you say, a gooey substance when left to go cold.
    Thanks for your replies, they have been very helpful. πŸ™‚

  10. Amelia H says:

    I’m a Guyanese living in NYC and as soon as fall starts to roll around and it starts to cool down, I have only one thing on my mind: Christmas! I’m not too concerned about the other holidays that precede it. Anyways, long story short, I had a real hankering for some good ole fashioned pepperpot and I wanted to do it the right way, so when my dad visited Guyana in October, I insisted he bring me back some of that authentic “black gold” straight from the heart of Pomeroon. This recipe is excellent! My parents don’t eat beef and only dad eats pork, I decided to use mutton instead, so we can all enjoy it. I let it boil first and then pressure cooked it. Let me tell you girl Altee, it was some good pepperpot-ty heaven! It was gone by day 3. I didn’t make a lot, as it was my first attempt ever and just in case I botched it up really badly, I didn’t want it to go to waste. I’m trying this again, using turkey this time and so far, so good. I would love to try it with all the types of meat that you’ve used. Perhaps one of my generous Guyanese friends would share some of theirs with me this year! Thank you, thank you for a great recipe & precise instructions, I’m definitely saving this one. Maybe you can post a recipe for black cake sometime! πŸ˜€

    Best,
    Amelia H

    • Metemgee says:

      Man i am so behind on blogging and reading comments. My heart feel full when I hear how others are making the recipes their own. Glad its working for you.

  11. Rick says:

    Where can I get Cassareep in the UK.

    • Metemgee says:

      I am not really sure. I’m in the US. I noticed they had some on amazon.com not sure how authetic that is though.

    • Ian says:

      You should be looking at West Indian Shops, they would have Cassareep, if that fails get back to me at (ian.teixeira@hotmail.com) with your address I will send you some.

      Ian.

  12. Christine ally says:

    Amazing!! Finally a recipe for Pepperpot. Merry Christmas.

  13. Tammy says:

    If I would like Pepperpot but became a vegetarian, what could I substitute the beef with? Or is that impossible?

    • Metemgee says:

      I was a vegetarian for a couple of years and used soy products to substitute for beef. One year I used morning Star breakfast patties in the pepperpot and it was great. Just make a broth with the onions, garlic, pepper, thyme, cassareep, and a little bit of brown sugar. Salt to taste. You can add vegetable broth to the mixture. When that cooks down to the desired flavor, then you can add your meat substitute.

  14. […] to realize and accept one of the keys to a successful marriage is compromise. I insist on having Pepper Pot on Christmas morning while he enjoys eggs and toast. I can finish off 6 hot cross buns in one […]

  15. Ray says:

    Good recipe. Almost exactly the same as my family recipe except we don’t usually add onion. We may add some orange peels but not every time. We make pepper pot probably once or twice a year (too little if you ask me) but garlic pork is our Christmas morning πŸ™‚ interested to see your recipe for that!

    • Metemgee says:

      I recently learnt about the orange peel and someone says onions make the pepperpot spoil. Mine never lasts long enough to spoil so I’ve never experienced that. My family doesn’t eat pork so we always had garlic beef instead of pork.

  16. […] Guyana isn’t an island but a nation in northern South America. Its most famous dish is pepperpot. Instead of being a creation of the merging of colonizing powers, pepperpot is an Amerindian dish. Today it’s most often served at Christmas time. The dish is simple, combining root vegetables with a protein and spices that always include hot peppers. It’s served with homemade bread to scoop up every last drop. Make it for dinner tonight, or be traditional and wait for Christmas morning breakfast! […]

  17. Natasha says:

    Hi just wanted to know if I can use any other meat besides beef

  18. shamine somar says:

    Ms. Metemgee,
    This is the best Guyanese pepper pot receipe ever!!!!
    This just reminded me of my childhood. Thank you so much for sharing.

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