It's that time of year, when my house smells like heaven! I LOVE Christmas––the cleaning, cooking, baking, decorating, I love it all. And sometimes I try to do it all in one weekend, which is why this recipe has been a life saver. My favorite childhood memories are those of waking up on Christmas morning to a house smelling of pepperpot. However, I absolutely hate the smell of meat pressure cooking to make pepperpot. Don't get me wrong, I love the smell of pepperpot, but that step before all the spices and flavor is added to the meat makes me nauseous. Cooking pepperpot in the slow cooker removes that step from the process, which is one of the reasons why I love my slow cooker pepperpot recipe so much!
A few years ago I bought a slow cooker. That year I made every dish possible in my slow cooker, including my pepperpot. I remember that year clearly. I had left all my Christmas prep for Christmas eve. So here I was on Christmas Eve baking, cleaning and thinking when am I going to get to this pepperpot. When suddenly "ah get a brainwave" (like Guyanese old folks would say). So I decided to dump everything in the slow cooker and let it cook while I tackled cleaning up and wrapping presents and sneaking them under the tree.
To my pleasant surprise Christmas morning the pepperpot was perfect. Thank God. Could you imagine how upset everyone would have been if it didn't come out good. Christmas without pepperpot is like a swimming pool without water, what's the point! Anyhoo, the pepperpot tasted like it had been cooking for days. Every piece of meat was tender, falling off the bone and full of flavor. I've made my pepperpot in the slow cooker ever since. Except for when I got my instant pot and decided to cook everything in there for a couple of months, but that's a different story and a different recipe for a different day.
I created a video for this recipe, that I posted to my youtube channel. Check it out below!
Step by step youtube video:
Step by step recipe:
For this recipe I used all beef, but you can use any combination of meat. Just remember to use tough cuts so that it doesn't melt away in the slow cooker. I used a shoulder roast that I cut it into 2 inch cubes. Then I seasoned the meat with salt and black pepper and set it aside.
I also used some beef neck bones (you can use oxtail instead of the neck bones) and cow heel (not pictured) for this recipe. I seasoned the neck bones with salt and pepper and set it aside until I was ready to cook. The cow heel (or beef feet) I soaked in white vinegar and water until I was ready to add it to the slow cooker.
I browned the meat before adding it to the slow cooker. I warmed a cast iron skillet on moderate heat, then I added 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil was hot,I added the meat and let it brown on all sides. Once the meat was brown on all sides, I removed it from the heat and set it aside,
In the same pan I used for the shoulder roast, I added the beef neck bones. Since the bones were a thicker cut of meat it took about 5 minutes to get each side brown. When both sides had a good sear I removed the neck bones from the pan and set it aside.
The next step in this dish is very important. Part of the guess work of slow cooking is figuring out how much liquid to add to the slow cooker. I make this very flavorful sauce and pour it over the meat. The meat then slow cooks in this sauce for hours and that's the key to the slow cooker pepperpot.
To make the sauce I started by deglazing the pan with 3 cups of water. I then added cassareep, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne pepper, wiri wiri pepper, brown sugar, salt and some onion power. I let that come up to a boil and then I removed it from the heat.
How you layer the meat in the slow cooker is also critical to the success of the dish. I assembled all the meat in the slow cooker, starting with the cow heel that was soaking in the vinegar. I removed the cow heel from the vinegar and water mixture, rinsed it with some fresh water and placed it at the bottom of the slow cooker. Because it will take the longest to cook, I want to make sure it gets fully submerged in the sauce and liquids. I sprinkled about 1 teaspoon of salt over the cow heel before adding the other meats.
Next I added all the meat that I browned earlier. I added the neck bones first and then the cubed shoulder meat. Then I poured the sauce over the meat. I pushed the cinnamon sticks down to the side so that it is in the sauce. This will add additional flavor to the sauce while it slow cooks. Finally I covered it and let it slow cook for 10 hours or the lowest setting on your slow cooker.
After 10 hours of slow cooking it was perfection. I skimmed off some of the oil that formed on the top of the pepperpot, then I stirred it up and dug right in. It was so yummy and tender. The wonderful thing about the slow cooker is that it gives it the flavor of cooking your pepperpot for days without actually having to cook it for days. When the slow cooker is done cooking most of them automatically switch to a warmer. So when you wake up on Christmas morning your pepperpot will be warm and ready! You can't go wrong with that. You can also make this dish a day or two before Christmas and let it sit. It will be even more flavorful by the time you are ready to eat it. Just remember to warm it up, once in the morning, and once at night to avoid having it go bad. But really I've never had an experience with pepperpot going bad. The cassareep is a natural preservative and cooking the meat keeps the meat from spoiling. I hope you try this recipe, you won't regret it!
- 2 lbs beef shoulder or chuck roast
- 2 lbs beef neck bones
- 2 lbs cow heel/feet
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup cassareep
- 3 sticks cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 wiri wiri pepper or 1 scotch bonnet pepper
- Wash and soak cow heel in 1 cup of white vinegar and some water. Let soak until ready to cook.
- Cut beef roast into 2 inch cubes
- Season beef and neck bones with about 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper and set aside
- Warm oil in a sauté pan or skillet on medium to high heat
- When the oil is hot, add the cubed beef roast and cook until all sides are brown, then remove from heat and set aside
- Then add beef neck bones and sear on both sides, then remove from head and set aside
- Add 3 cups of water to the sauté pan to help deglaze it. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any beef bits from the bottom of the pan
- Then add the garlic, cassareep, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, onion powder, cayenne pepper, wiri wiri pepper and 1 tablespoon of salt
- Let the sauce come up to a boil and then remove from the heat
- Remove the cow heel from the vinegar and water mixture and rinse clean with fresh water
- Add the cow heel to the bottom of your slow cooker, then sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of salt over the cow heel
- Add the neck bones to the slow cooker, followed by the cubed beef then pour the sauce over the mixture
- Cover and let cook on the lowest setting on the slow cooker for at least 8 hours
- When the pepperpot is done cooking, skim some of the oil/fat from the top of the pepperpot before enjoying with some homemade bread.
2. I know some of you are looking at me cross eyed for not seasoning my meat with more seasoning or green seasoning, but trust me, this is all the seasoning this recipe need. Not every dish needs green seasoning, there I said it!
3. After you pour the sauce over the meat in the slow cooker, push the cinnamon sticks down to the button, so that it can flavor the sauce and not just the meat on top.
4. You may need to stir the pot up a little half way through so that the beef on the top gets into the sauce. I've only had to do this once, when I added too much beef, but didn't for this recipe.