Philadelphia Pepper Pot Stew

A Caribbean-rooted stew featuring peppers, spices, beef tripe, and leafy greens.

As the name indicates, this dish shares roots with a Caribbean pepper stew that uses various cuts of meat and offal with root vegetables like cassava. The traditional version associated with Philadelphia typically includes a variety of peppers, spices, root vegetables, beef tripe, herbs, and leafy greens. Don’t be daunted by the tripe: it settles into the stew to create a wonderful umami flavor.

PHILADELPHIA PEPPER POT STEW RECIPE

 INGREDIENTS

2 lb beef honeycomb tripe or beef shanks
1 lb andouille, tasso ham, or smoked kielbasa
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, small-diced
1 each large red and green bell peppers, small-diced
1 habanero, minced
1 Scotch bonnet, minced
1 small celery heart, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 large bay leaves
½ tsp allspice, ground
¼ tsp cloves, ground
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cayenne
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Sprig of thyme or 1 tsp dry
Sprig of oregano or 1 tsp dry
3 qt meat stock
1 bunch collard greens, cut into small strips
2 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
2 lb pumpkin or squash (butternut or Hubbard), cubed
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
½ cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place tripe in a large pot and fill with water until submerged; bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook for 16-20 minutes; let cool, drain, and set aside. Cut tripe into small strips

2. Heat a Dutch oven and render bacon until crisp, set aside. If using beef shanks, season with salt and pepper then brown on both sides on the pan; if using sausages or other smoked meats, sear until browned and render a little fat, set aside.

3. Sauté garlic and lightly brown. Add onions, peppers, and celery, cooking until soft for about 15-18 minutes. Add bay leaves with all the dried spices and cook until fragrant for about 3-5 minutes.

4. Return the shanks and cover with stock to braise on low heat for an hour before adding the rest of the ingredients; if not using meat, just bring stock to a boil; add collards, carrots, potatoes, and pumpkin. Braise for an hour under low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Before serving, stir and melt butter in the stew and garnish with parsley.

RECIPES, STORY & STYLING BY RAFE VENCIO / PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVE BRYCE

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