Caribbean Kitchen (Spring 1995)

International chef Joe Brown continues his Caribbean journey with two favourite dishes from the English-speaking countries of the region

Illustrations by Shalini SeereeramIllustrations by Shalini Seereeram

GUYANA PEPPER POT RECIPE

2 kg stewing beef, cubed

200 g salt beef or pig tail

120 g brown sugar

1 lime

salt to taste

1/2 cup cassareep (see note)

2 hot peppers

1 stick cinnamon

3 cloves

25 ml vinegar

1 Wash meat in lime juice and salt and boil well, covered with water. Add cassareep and allow to simmer until half cooked.

2 In a thick-bottomed pot caramelise (without burning) the brown sugar. Add all other ingredients and continue simmering until meat is tender. The whole hot peppers (Congo) should be removed before they burst.

Pepper Pot was introduced at a time of no refrigeration, so by bringing it back to the boil every day and occasionally adding meat, a cook could make it could last for several days. No onions, vegetables or starches were added as these could turn sour. However, I have found that if you are preparing a Pepper Pot to serve at once, the addition, towards the end of cooking, of some diced carrots, christophene, potato and celery add more depth to the pot, and a last-minute sprinkling of freshly ground black peppercorn gives it a touch more appeal.

 

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO CRAB AND CALLALOO RECIPE (for 6 persons)

12 young dasheen leaves

8 okras

4 crabs (canned meat can be used)

1/4Ib. pig tails

1 coconut milk

1 dessert spoon butter

1 whole pepper

1 onion, peg of garlic

1 tomato, chive

salt to taste

Dasheen leaves should be plucked on the previous night. Crabs (if alive) must be kept overnight. Peel off outer skin on stem and vein of leaves. Break stem into small pieces. Fold leaf into knot. Scald crabs, clean and dismember body from legs. Grate coconut and squeeze grated coconut through sheer white cloth to obtain milk. Scald and cut pig tails in small pieces.

Place leaves in a deep metal pot with pieces of okra, pig tails, chopped onion, garlic and tomato. Cover completely with water. Add salt to taste. Add 1 dessert spoon butter. Add pieces of whole crab or canned crabmeat. When at boil, add coconut milk. Add 1 whole pepper (do not allow to burst).

Cook approximately 1 1/2 hours at 350ºF. Swizzle frequently with wooden swizzle stick. Serve hot in deep soup bowl. Sometimes served with sliced avocado or “pounded plantain.”

GLOSSARY

Callaloo A thick soup like dish made with dasheen leaves, okras, pumpkin and other vegetables.

Cassareep The thickly syrupy residue from boiled cassava juice. The juice is extracted by grating raw cassava, adding water and straining. It is then flavoured with salt, pepper and sugar.

Cassava Edible root, also called manioc or yucca. Must be cooked before eating.