Good hump day friends. Today I'm excited to let you all know about a delicious comfort dish you may not be familiar with called Pepperpot Soup. Pepperpot soup is a classic Caribbean dish where okra is the star. I know what your thinking okra that weird slimy vegetable I've avoided my whole life. Yes! For some reason this flavorful soup is one of the most perfect ways to enjoy okra which is packed full of flavonoid anti-oxidant vitamins. The slimy factor does take some getting used to but in all honesty this probably the best way to introduce okra into your diet.
Some of you may or may not know this about me but my grandfather on my mothers side is Jamaican so I pretty much grew up on this brothy stew. My grandmother used to make it all the time on Friday nights as part of our shabbat dinner. For those of you that know me you're probably scratching your head at this point, yes we are Jewish & Jamaican and it's not as uncommon as you might think. During the Spanish inquisition many Jews fled persecution in Spain & Portugal and sought safety in the Carribean - there you have it folks, white Jamaican Jews. Now back to the recipe at hand. A few weeks ago over lunch I asked my grandmother how she made her pepper pot soup. I took notes on my blackberry and then took off to the grocery store. Obviously I put my own twist on the recipe and including local green chilies instead of scotch bonnets & I also added some spices which grandma probably would have shook her head at. I made the cheffy decision to sear off the beef rather then the old school Polish method of cooking which is just boiling the shit out of everything. Grandma couldn't wrap her head around the thought of it, but lucky enough my soup turned out amazing! Confirmed by my mother who can't wait for the next batch.
PREP: Generously season the beef with sweet smoked paprika, all spice a hint of clove salt & pepper and chop all of the veg into bite size pieces, mince the chillies seeds and all.
COOK: In a drizzle of olive oil sear off beef on both sides, then remove from the pot & chop into large chunks. Saute garlic, green onion & chilies in the same pot until tender (2 mins) then add in okra and continue to cook for another 10 mins. Remove veg from the pot and put off to the side. Add meat back into the pot with 2 quarts of water & bay leaf and simmer for 2 hours, skimming off the excess grease and impurities. Add the okra, onion mixture to the pot as well as the chayote squash. Cook for another 45 mins or so checking your seasoning (salt & pepper to taste). Finally add the spinach or greens (callallo, collards, kale, chard etc...) and cook for another 15 mins. When your your beef is fall apart tender it's ready to go.
NOTES: This recipe makes about 6 servings of stew. If you don't like fatty meat like short rib you can use stewing beef. Be sure to use beef, chicken or turkey stock instead of water so you don't loose out on flavor. You can also simmer the soup with smoked turkey or ham bones for a rich flavorful stock.