Densely forested Guyana is home to part of the Amazon rainforest, and adventure here extends into sourcing delicious ingredients for daily meals. Pepper pot is Guyana’s national dish, made popular by Amerindian peoples, and is often served at Christmas and special occasions. It includes cassareep (the juice of the cassava boiled until it reduces and caramelizes) and wiri wiri peppers — small and spicy cherry peppers native only to Guyana.
Chicken Pepper Pot
Yields: 4 quarts
For Chicken Marinade:
- ½ cup oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp grated ginger
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- zest and juice of 2 oranges
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 whole chickens
For Chicken Stock:
- 5 carrots, roughly chopped
- 5 yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 5 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch thyme, whole
- 1 bunch green onions, cut in half
- 4 quarts water
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
For Pepper Pot:
- 3 yellow onions, small dice
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
- 5 wiri wiri peppers, whole*
- 3 cinnamon sticks, whole
- 3 cloves, whole
- 1 ea orange, peel and juice
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 cup cassareep
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 2 sprigs scallions, sliced
*Can be substituted with serrano peppers.
1. Break down chickens into:
- 4 ea boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
- 4 ea chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
- 4 ea chicken drumsticks, bone in, skin on
2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients and let chicken marinate for at least 2 hours. Reserve the chicken bones to make chicken stock.
1. In a large pot, add oil and brown chicken carcasses remaining from the marinade.
2. In the same pot, add vegetables and thyme.
3. When vegetables have softened and begin to brown, add water to cover and bring to a boil.
4. Let boil and reduce to a simmer for at least 2 hours. Liquid should yield a golden/yellowish color.
5. Strain stock and discard the chicken bones and vegetables.
6. Reserve liquid.
1. In a large pot, sear all chicken until golden brown and reserve, leaving fat in the pan.
2. Add onions, garlic, ginger, peppers, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, orange juice and thyme. Sauté in the chicken fat until fragrant and slightly browned.
3. Add chicken back to pan. Continue to cook and add cassareep.
4. Add chicken stock to cover and let pepper pot continue to cook for at least 5 hours. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper.
5. Cook chicken until tender and easy to pull from the bone.
6. Plate pepper pot with sliced scallions.