Guyana - Pepperpot
Okay okay, so this is traditionally a Christmas breakfast, but I made it for a dinner party... in June. And unfortunately, my local store did not sell oxtail for whatever reason... I blame you Jewel Osco. They did have short ribs, which according to Google, is the closest I can get to oxtail in terms of flavor and texture. Several hours of simmering later, I had a beautiful, fall-off-the-bone stew that was so flavorful, and so appetizing, that everyone was just happy with the result. Stewing anything for that long I feel will always yield great results.
I served this with sautéed spinach with tomatoes, and a chickpea salad to balance out the meal. We are trying to be healthy when it comes to meat dishes right?!
Do you make stewed oxtail / short rib? What sides or veggies do you like to balance the meal with? Let me know your suggestions!
Also, I had a brief conversation with the very sweet blogger I adapted this recipe from, Althea. This is what she said: Pepperpot is our national dish so we’re very critical when outsiders make it! You can use any combination of tough meat actually. The key ingredient is cassareep, lots of it and the thick broth that is the result of that braising or slow cooking is just to die for.
So whatever you do, make sure you seek out that cassareep! If you absolutely cannot find it, I also included a substitution, but I would not recommend serving it to your friends from Guyana!
2 lbs short rib
1 lb beef chuck (chopped)
3/4 cup brown sugar (divided)
1 cup cassareep (divided)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp whole cloves
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp thyme
1 yellow onions (diced)
6 cloves garlic (minced)
5 cinnamon sticks
1 cup of vinegar
4 tbsp molasses
4 tbsp fresh lime juice.
In a bowl or large Ziploc bag, add the short rib or beef chuck. The original recipe calls for oxtail instead of short rib, so use whichever you can find at the grocery store! Add 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and cassareep and all of the cayenne pepper, cloves, salt, pepper, and thyme.
Mix it very well to get all the meat covered, and let it sit for about 30 minutes, or overnight if you're patient enough.
In a large dutch pot on medium-high heat, add some oil, and brown the beef in batches. Once all the meat is browned, keep it set aside, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot, and add the onion and garlic, sauteeing for about 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon sticks and habanero pepper, stir for one minute, and finally add the meat back to the pot.
Raise the heat to high heat, add enough water to cover all the ingredients, and bring to a boil. Add in the remaining 1/2 cup of cassareep. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, covered. I let it simmer for about 3 hours, and had to add another cup of water part of the way.
After the three hours, add 1/4 cup of brown sugar and season with salt. Give it a good stir, let it simmer for another 10 minutes, and serve with rice and some side dishes!
Recipe adapted from Metemgee.