Happy New Year! After a relaxing holiday break from posting, I was excited to dive back in with another recipe from another country. In case you’re new here, each week, we’re going to be heading to a new country (in spirit). Primarily, we’ll be cooking a meal from each country; but we’ll also be watching travel documentaries, reading travel blogs, and listening to music. During the global pandemic, travel is largely inaccessible. We want to reignite our wanderlust, satisfy our travel bug as much as we can, and learn some new things along the way. I have a feeling our bucket list will have a number of items added to it through this experience as well. We created a simple alphabetical spreadsheet with all the countries of the world, and each week we will draw a random number that corresponds with a country on the spreadsheet.
Our first country of 2022 is Guyana, which is located on the Northeastern coast of South America. Guyana achieved independence from Britain in 1966 but the influence of Britain is still very prominent in the capital city, Georgetown. Guyana is home to Kaieteur Falls, the largest single-drop waterfall by volume in the world. The country has an oceanic coastline, rainforests, savannahs, and mountainous regions.
The national dish of Guyana is called Pepperpot, and it is traditionally served around times of celebration, such as Christmas and weddings. It is a meat stew with spices that create wonderful aromas which actually are very reminiscent of Christmas- quite fitting for this time of year. It also packs a lot of heat, which was exactly what we needed to clear out the congestion from the Covid-19 infection we acquired after the holidays.
Traditionally, Guyana uses a preservative called Cassareep, which is made from boiled-down grated cassava. We were unable to obtain neither cassareep nor cassava where we live, but the recipe we used, linked below, included a method of making a substitute made with molasses, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce that is supposed to taste similar.
We followed this recipe from Chatelaine:
This recipe was incredibly easy to pull together. After we browned the beef and added all the ingredients to the pot, that was it; we just had to wait for the yummy smells to fill our home. The cinnamon, allspice, and orange were especially prevalent.
When our Pepperpot Stew was ready, we served it up with some crusty bread and butter. The flavours in this dish were fantastic. The sweetness of the molasses balanced the heat of the peppers perfectly. The cinnamon and orange added interesting undertones that had seeped into the beef, which was not the slightest bit tough.
We would absolutely make Guyanese Pepperpot again, especially when we are sick with a cold, and we would not change a thing.