Pepperpot goes way back to the Indians who inhabited the West Indies
originally, and usually referred to an on- going soup/stew pot which
they constantly replenished. There are as many recipes as
islands....some have tripe as the major ingredient, but in Jamaica,
Pepperpot refers to a soup whose main ingredient is Calaloo, which is
a spinach-like, leafy vegetable, loaded with iron and minerals, and
which is a staple food in Jamaica. After Hurricane Gilbert ravaged
Jamaica a few years ago, calaloo was one of the first vegetables that
households and growers re-planted.
Here in Miami, I can usually get fresh supplies of Jamaican-grown
Calaloo every week, but when not, I use fresh Spinach, or even frozen
2 lbs Spinach, picked over, and chopped fine, or frozen or Calaloo
gallon of broth
1/2 lb Okras, cut into 1/2 slices
2 Onions, diced
6 sprigs Green Onion, diced
10 cloves Garlic, mashed
1 bunch Fresh Thyme, or 1 TBS dried leaves
8 Allspice berries or 1/2 tsp Ground
1 whole, green Scotch Bonnet Pepper, or 1 tsp Hot Sauce
2 med Potatoes, diced or Sweet Potatoes (Boniato) or
1/2 lb Jamaican Yellow Yam, diced*
1/3 cup canned Coconut Milk **
1/2 lb Fresh Shrimp, head-on and un-shelled, preferably
(optional but delicious)
1 fresh Blue Crab (optional but delicious!)
Salt and Pepper
In a large stock-pot, add the broth, chopped spinach, the Allspice, (we
call it Pimento), and all the other spices and seasonings, and return to
simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked.
Add the Potatoes, and Yams, Coconut milk and the diced Okras, and
simmer until the potatoes are cooked. We also add some "spinners",
which are simply flour and water and salt, kneaded to a tight dough,
broken into little pieces and rolled between the palms of both hands
into a chunky-cigarette shape, and dropped into the soup.
When the soup is cooked, it should be slightly thickened by the okra.
At this point, just before serving, add the shrimp, and the crab,
simmer until the shellfish have turned pink, and are cooked.
Your soup is now ready to be served with slices of hearty Jamaican
hard-dough, or a Sour-dough bread.
I would add lots more peppers than the one Scotch Bonnet, but note
that the Pepper Pot does not necessarily refer to the "heat" of the
dish. Add heat at your own discretion. *Available at a West-Indian or
Latin market ** Usually Philippine-produced