One of Guyana’s national dishes, Pepperpot is a rich, saucy meat stew traditionally eaten with bread. The dish was handed down to the Guyanese people from their Amerindian ancestors and is quite easy to make.
6 lbs meat (use a single meat or a combination of meat)
3/4 cup Baron Cassava Cassareep
4 sticks Baron Cinnamon
2 tsp. Baron Cloves (whole)
2 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
Knob ginger, peeled and halved
1 large scotch bonnet or wiri wiri pepper
Cut meat into large pieces, rinse and drain well. Add all ingredients to a large pot and fill with water about 3 inches above meat.
Place pot on high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar and the cassareep. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the cover and spoon off the froth then reduce heat to medium, cover pot and cook for 3 hours or until meat is soft.
Taste sauce for the right balance of sweet and savoury, it should err more on the side of sweet with savoury notes. Adjust if necessary by adding more salt or sugar to your taste. Turn off the heat and let rest for 24 hours before eating the Pepperpot, this allows the flavours to develop.
Reheat Pepperpot by bringing it up to a boil for 2 minutes twice a day – morning and evening. Always access the pot with clean, dry utensils. The dish gets better with each passing day and the sauce thickens.
The key and most important ingredient to Pepperpot is cassava cassareep – the juice of grated cassava (yucca) boiled down to a very thick black syrup.
Cassareep has in natural preservative properties and this allows the dish to stay at room temperature for days, while being reheated twice daily.
Recipe by Cynthia Nelson, Guyanese native and author of Tastes Like Home: My Caribbean Cookbook