Pepperpot / by Simon Abrams

I was scrolling through some of my recent pictures on Flickr and came across this:

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If you ever find yourself at a Guyanese restaurant and you see pepperpot on the menu, don't hesitate - do yourself a favor and get it. Rich, savory, spicy - this dish defines Christmas Morning to most Guyanese people (although it can be consumed any time throughout the year).

Preparation often begins several days in advance, and the dish slowly simmers until it is ladled out into bowls to be sopped up with fresh, crusty, warm, home-made bread.

There are cloves, cinnamon, and big, bony hunks of mostly unglamorous cuts of meat -- the ones with lots of fat and cartilage, like cow-heel. Of course, as you'd expect, given the name, there's also plenty of hot pepper. But the signature ingredient, which gives pepperpot its rich color and savory flavor is called casareep (we pronounce it "CAHS-rip"), an extract of the cassava (or yucca) root.

It's not uncommon, as the pot begins to dwindle, that it is freshened up with more meat and casareep to extend its enjoyment over the course of several days during the holiday season. It is one of my absolute favorite foods on the planet.

Note: This post would have been best shared around Christmas time, but I think I was too preoccupied with eating this than writing about it at the time.