In our Secrets From the Kitchen series, Food Network Canada recipe developers share their best cooking secrets for their favourite recipes. On today’s menu: Philip Lago and Mystique Mattai’s Pepperpot Pot Roast.
The aromas of this dish bring me right back to my dad’s kitchen. Traditionally a Guyanese Christmas morning staple, we’re making and serving it dinner-style using classic ingredients like cinnamon, clove, thyme, Scotch bonnet peppers, and of course, cassareep! Cassareep is a dark syrup made from cassava root that is a common ingredient in Guyanese dishes, and it’s absolutely essential in Pepperpot, which is Guyana’s national dish. It’s readily stocked at most Caribbean and West Indian grocery stores, but if you can’t find it, you can substitute in one cup of molasses and three tablespoons each of soy sauce and Worcestershire.
Traditionally, this dish is served with plait bread, which is a braided white bread similar to challah or brioche, but without the egg-washed crust. You can serve it with any bread you prefer, but our secret is to grill the bread, which really kicks this dish up a notch.
To get the full holiday menu, check out our roundup of Secrets From the Kitchen holiday recipes.
For an extra spicy version of the dish, use 2 Scotch bonnets.
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Pat the roast dry and generously season all around with salt and pepper.
Place a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Drizzle with oil and once hot, carefully place the roast in the pot.
Sear on all sides until caramelized and deep brown, about 3 minutes per side.
Transfer the roast to a plate and discard fat from the pot.
Return the pot to heat and combine beef broth, cassareep, brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, orange slices, and Scotch bonnet.
Bring to a simmer, then place the roast back in the pot.
Cover and transfer to the oven to braise for about 3 hours, or until the roast is cooked through and tender enough to break up with a fork.
Remove the roast from the juices and place on a plate.
Return the Dutch oven to the stove over medium-high heat and boil the liquid to reduce slightly, about 15 minutes.
Remove any butcher twine from the roast.
Thinly slice 3-4 pieces of beef per serving, then return remaining roast to the pot.
Serve sliced meat in a shallow bowl with 2-3 ladles of the braising liquid and two thick slices of bread for dipping.