When you hear a Guyanese person speak about Christmas the conversation always heads in the direction of Pepperpot. You have to love the passionate manner in which my fellow Caribbean people speak about this lovely meat stew most Guyanese serve on Christmas morning with a thick slice of their traditional plait bread. The tender pieces of meat falling of the bones and the rich gravy…. oh that rich gravy! You’d rip a piece of the bread and dunk in into that lovely gravy, spiced with cinnamon, herbs and cassareep (a thick molasses like reduction made from cassava). Other that what goes into making the pepperpot, patience is key… low and slow and you’ll be rewarded.
4 lbs of meat- (beef and goat)
1 cup cassareep
2 cinnamon sticks
2 inch piece orange peel
4 cloves garlic
4 wiri wiri peppers
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
8-12 cups water
4 springs thyme
6 cloves (optional)
2 small onions
*tablespoon veg oil
Note: I’ve seen my cousin’s in-laws who are Guyanese make this dish with strictly goat meat and I know others who uses a combination of meats as I did.. but they also add pork, oxtails, trotters and even cow heel. So the choice is yours.
Have your butcher cut the meats into the same size pieces and try your best to trim off as much fat as you can. I personally like using a combination of meats with bones and boneless. So the goat meat had the bones, but the beef was indeed boneless.
In a large/deep pot, heat the oil and add the pieces of meats (wash and drain first) and try to brown a little. Then add all the other ingredients (except the water) and give it a good stir. Next up add the water (make sure everything is covered) and bring to a boil.
You will note that I kept the peppers whole so I get the flavor and not the raw heat (you can remove them before serving and try your best not to break them open).
As it comes to a boil you’ll need to skim (and discard) the sort of scum at the top of the pot and during the 3 hr braising process, you’ll want to do the same for any oily fats you see on the surface. Now that it’s boiling, reduce to a very gentle simmer, cover the pot and let it go for 3 hrs. Yes, you can use a pressure cooker to help with the lengthy cooking time, but to be quite honest.. you’ll loose some of that lovely flavor you ONLY get with slow cooking.
After 3 hours the liquid would have reduced by about 3/4, so it will be intense in both color and flavor, for what I believe is one of the most tasty Caribbean gravy you’ll ever enjoy. Guyanese pepperpot is something cooked a couple days before Christmas and remains on the stove, gently heated every time you need a fix. Personally, I much prefer my Pepperpot with cassava dumplings or ground provisions (that’s probably the country boy in me).
Thanks for all the email requests for this recipe as I much enjoyed having that lovely aroma of the cinnamon throughout my home for the 3 hours of cooking. My girls told me the scent reminded me of Christmas… and they’re not Guyanese!
Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!
Thanks for sharing another dynamite cook up.
My wife is Guyanese and I’m Trini to de bone.We added a Moruga Scorpion instead of the whery whery peppers.I grow them here in Miami.Blessing my brother.
Could you give any advice on making a vegetarian, soy free version of this pepperpot with oyster mushrooms? Most recipes for vegetarians call for soy chunks and such and we’re trying to avoid the soy. Thanks.
Can Scotch Bonnet be substituted for Wiri Wiri peppers
My father was from Guyana and my Chinese/Guyanese grandmother used to make Pepper Pot for us whenever we would visit. It’s a family favorite and I can now make it for my family. I am happy for this recipe as mine was, “a spoonful of this, a bit of this…” For those who can’t find cassareep, you can substitute molasses. I have made it both ways and you can’t tell the difference. If anything, the cassareep makes it a tiny bit more bitter.
Thank you so much for this recipe! My husband doesn’t eat red meat often,but he requested this dish remain in the special occasion rotation. I made a giant pot and got one bowl. Gorgeous dish
Why does mine taste a little bitter? What if it’s bitter? How do I fix that?
Anna I am Guyanese, I check out Chris’s YouTube videos from time to time. Casreep is bitter so add some brown sugar. You have to keep tasting or you’ll end up with a SWEET pot instead of a ‘sweet’ pot. Merry Christmas
What brand of cassareep do you recommend
What if it’s a little bitter?? How do I fix that
Can the brown sugar be left out? I’m asking as I would love to make this for a Guyanese friend who is a diabetic. Thank you
i believe the cassareep also contains sugar so you might want to becareful
can vegetables be added?
I’ve read that yam, sweet potato, and pumpkin can be added.
I’ve also seen that some recipes have coconut milk added…what effect does the above have on the dish?
That may have been Antigua’s pepperpot. It doesn’t contain cassareep but it doesn’t have many other ingredients (meats, veggies, ect.)
Hello I just found this recipe and I live in Texas I have the hardest time finding the cassareep can you Recommend a good one
to be honest I don’t have a fav.. have you tried Amazon.com by chance?
burn some sugar dear. put the brown sugar in a thick pan and when it gets semi liquid add water but stay back it gets aggressive and keep stirring til u only have liquid.
But cassareep is cassava-based, the flavour wouldn’t be the same burning sugar alone. That’s basically stewing meat.
I can tell you as a Pomeroon girl that most casareep you can buy don’t taste like anything except burnt sugar. You can add cassava to it if you want the cassava taste.
This is the best pepperpot recipe I ever tried. I always prepare it 1 or 2 days before (and I add a little bit of rhum in it….) Now, all my friends ask for this dish whenever I invite them for dinner.
My husband is Guyanese so I will be making pepperpot for the first time and I have chosen to use your recipe from all the others that I have looked up. (I plan to add the cloves)
A long story, to share with everyone. My Chinese-Guyanese-born mother, who lived in Trinidad, cooked the best pepperpot that our Trinidadian friends and family loved. Unfortunately, I never wrote down the recipe, so my dish is not authentic “Guyanese”. I use a pressure cooker (the best invention for the stove top), and cook beef short ribs. Pork and beef are so lean in USA, that the cooked meat is stringy or tough. Belly pork, that can be found in the Chinatown and Korean meat markets, is ideal for pepperpot, but pork fat is not in style. I cannot find decent pickled pigtail, which was one of my Mom’s pepperpot ingredients. I am going to try your recipe this weekend.
If I do cook it in a slow cooker, I would have to reduce the water. How much water do you recommend putting in the slow cooker?
Growing up in Canada, this is my favourite and strongest connection with the land of my birth. My father and aunt always compete over who makes the best pepperpot, and for the last few years I have made it, too. Last year I messed it up; the casareep was FAKE, re-bottled molasses and soy sauce from a small local Caribbean store 🙁
My grandmother brought the real stuff from back home, and this Christmas I will use YOUR recipe Chris. Wish me luck, and thank you for the great description and video!
Hi! I have a question. I noticed that most West Indians cook in one of those rounded bottom cast aluminium pots. I know that everything seems to taste fantastic when food is cooked in those pots but I’ve always held back from purchasing one since it is a well known fact that aluminium causes Alzheimer…did you know that? And is there something else you know about this? I’d love to buy one but don’t want the risks……thanks for answering back. I love your recipes….I am married to a Guyanese man and living in Quebec, I don’t need to tell you that he feels like a blessed man having all his favorite dishes made for him! Lol….the saying is true….you can have a man eating out of your hand through good food!
Chat Conversation End
There is no proof that aluminium causes alzheimer disease. Go ahead and purchase the pots. See this website for more info on alzheimer http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_myths_about_alzheimers.asp
Danielle, the pots we use in the Caribbean are actually cast iron pots – not aluminium, so nothing to worry about. Aluminium pots are those that are the commonly sold pans – the shiny silver ones. And you’re right – West Indian food cooked taste the best cooked in iron pots – the blacker, the better! 🙂
this website was very helpful love it thanks
Can anyone recommend a good brand of casareep and where to buy it?
Hi Sandy, I am using Carribbeans best cassarep…and it is 100 percent vegetarian
I’m planning to make a vegetarian version of pepperpot soon.
Hi! I am new to comments section but not to this site. I have tried this dish before with great success and will be trying it again tonight for our breakfast tomorrow. I expect good results aka “mom I want more” from my 2 teen sons!!
I was introduced to pepper pot a few years ago by my now ex partner. Who’s mum is Guyanese and cooked it each Christmas. I fell in love with it. For me the only way to describe the amazing flavours is “Christmas in a dish”. Since we split I have been looking for a simple recipe. Now I have found this I will not be waiting until Christmas to try it. Thank you
Hi! I live in Hayward, CA and have a very small senior apartment, not ideal for cooking (have done a lot, but don’t think I can make pepperpot) Just wondered if anyone knows of a restaurant in the SF area that makes pepperpot, so I can finally have some of this delicious dish??? I would truly appreciate such info or an invitation to a creative cook’s dining room??? Any help would be truly appreciated!
Awesome dish on Christmas Eve. This was my first time making Pepperpot, it was a great hit with family.
This recipe sounds ideal for dinner on Christmas Eve, really looking forward to giving it a go. I think my children will appreciate the effort. I’m hoping I can substitute cassareep with molasses, vinegar and lime juice.
Hope you and your family have a great Christmas and a prosperus New Year.Thankyou so for sharing your wonderful recipes.
+Beverley, like Chris said the flavor comes from the casreep.This is the one thing you do not want to substitute. You can find it at any West Indian store, below is a link to what the bottles may look like. Also add the 4 to 6 cloves if you do not dislike them.
Chris, I am so happy that you have shared this recipe. I am Guyanese and I always make it with my pressure cooker. Thanks for the tip about the flavour being better developed with slow cooking. I will try that method this year. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family.
I was thinking about asking you for this recipe because I have so many different versions of it with contradictions that I stop trying to cook it. I love it very much. After seeing your version I am definately going to cook this dish for Christmas.
Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy New year to you and your family Chris.
Chris, can you use a crockpot for this?
Most certainly, but you may end up with having to cook it a bit longer.
I am going to make this pot for new years eve. I think it would be a great idea to use the crockpot putting it on from the night before. HMMMMM! mouth watering!