Pepperpot can be regarded as Guyana’s national dish. It is a delectable stew made with meat that is rich in braised beef and flavorful spices like cinnamon, clove, and thyme. Wiri wiri peppers are a little red pepper that are indigenous to Guyana and treasured for its vivid flavour and spicy kick. This version, albeit not typical to many pepperpot recipes, includes nutmeg for an additional layer of spice depth. Pepperpot is traditionally served for breakfast on Christmas morning alongside Guyanese plait bread, a braided white bread similar to challah but lacking the shiny egg-washed crust.
One key ingredient included in the making of pepperpot is cassareep. Cassareep is a thick and dark liquid formed from the astringent juices of the cassava root. It has the viscosity of molasses. Cassareep gives pepperpot its signature dark colour.
Depending on the type of meat you choose, the cooking time for pepperpot is usually at least a few hours. There are several meats that can be used to make pepperpot, but some of the more common ones are beef, pork, and mutton (sheep).
Due to their different cooking times, the meats in this recipe are pressure cooked individually before being mixed in a single large pot. The flavour of pepperpot is often sweeter, although it does have a good balance of sweet and savoury flavours. There is nothing like this cuisine in the entire globe. Pepperpot is spicy, as the name suggests. Although you can adjust the spices and heat level to suit your preference.
One of the most common peppers used in Guyana is the Guyanese chilli pepper known as Wiri Wiri. It is a small, round and spicy pepper with a distinct smell; for most Guyanese this is what is added to pepperpot to give it heat. If you can’t get this, Scotch bonnet pepper is a fantastic alternative.
- 900g cow foot, cut into roughly small pieces
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon, divided
- 1 1/4 cups (420ml) cassareep, divided
- 21 stems fresh thyme, divided
- 24 whole cloves, divided
- 3 cinnamon sticks , divided
- 450g oxtail with separated joints
- 450g bone-in beef chuck, cut into roughly 2-inch pieces
- 6 medium-sized cloves garlic,finely minced
- 4 fresh wiri wiri peppers
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- One knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/2 of a whole nutmeg, grated
- Orange zest
- Season the cow foot with salt and 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon all over. Cow foot, 1/2 cup cassareep, 7 thyme sprigs, 8 whole cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, and 4 cups water are combined in a stovetop pressure cooker or electronic multi-cooker (such as an Instant Pot). For 60 minutes, cook under high pressure. Using the rapid release valve, release the pressure in the cooker. Next, transfer the cow foot and cooking juices to a big pot or Dutch oven and set them aside.
- Season the oxtail with salt and 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon all over. Oxtails are combined with 2 cups water, 1/2 cup cassareep, 7 thyme stems, 8 whole cloves, and 1 cinnamon stick in the same pressure cooker. Cook for 30 minutes under high pressure. Transfer the cooked oxtails and their cooking liquid into the pot with the cow foot after depressurizing the cooker with the rapid release valve.
- Season the beef chuck with salt and ½ teaspoon chicken bouillon all over. Beef chuck, 1/2 cup cassareep, 7 thyme stems, 8 whole cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, and 3 cups water are all combined in the same pressure cooker. Cook for 30 minutes under high pressure. Depressurize the cooker with the rapid release valve, then add the cooked beef chuck and its cooking liquid to the pot with the cow foot and oxtails.
- Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup cassareep and 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon before adding the wiri wiri peppers, brown sugar, ginger, nutmeg, and orange zest. Puncture one or two peppers with a knife first for extra chili heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to a medium-low heat and cook for 15 minutes; the stew’s sauce should be brothy but not watery. If necessary, season with salt.
- Remove from the heat and skim any excess fat from the surface. Serve with crusty bread.