By Celina DeCastro
This Amerindian dish is considered the national dish in Guyana. Often cooked during the Christmas or wintertime festivities, this stew-like dish can be served alongside Guyanese homemade white plait bread for dipping into the stew or with rice and beans. The flavor of this dish develops over time; it can be left un-refrigerated due to the cassareep for it acts as a preservation. If left un-refrigerated, heat it up to a boil and serve over and over to hungry friends and family who cannot wait until Christmas for this mouthwatering dish. This dish is best cooked a day before serving.
What you’ll need:
- 5 lbs. of stewing beef or beef brisket
- 1 lbs. of pork trotters or cow’s heels (optional)
- 1 lbs. of pig tails or ox tails (optional)
- 1 cup of Amerindian seasoning (cassareep)
- 3 red hot peppers of your choice.
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- Salt to taste
- 2 stalks of basil
- 1 bunch of fresh thyme
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 chopped garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp Whole cloves
- 1 tbsp of granulated garlic
- 1 tsp of cayenne powder
- 4 tbsp of oil
What to do:
- Season oxtail or pigtail with 1/3 of the 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and other ingredients except the cinnamon, whole cloves, sugar and pepper. Add 1/3 of the cassareep. Set mixture aside.
- Repeat this step to marinade the beef and cow heel.
- In a large stock pot, add 2 tbsp of oil and saute 1/3 of the onion and garlic cloves on high heat.
- Add the seasoned beef, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and pepper. Saute until beef are brown all over.
- Once meat has turned brown, add about 6 cups of water and bring to a boil on high heat. Then reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer
- Warm about 1 tbsp of oil in a pressure cooker set to high heat. Add seasoned oxtail or pigtail and add 1/3 of onion and garlic. Saute until brown and then add 5 cups of water. Cover and cook until oxtail or pigtail is tender.
- Repeat step 6 to cook cow heel.
- Add oxtail to the beef and mix together, then add cow heel to mixture and mix together.
- Add 2 cups of water, enough to cover the meat, and use remaining cassareep.
- Increase the heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Let it bowl for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Reduce the heat and let simmer on low heat, let it simmer for 2.5 hours until meat is falling off the bone.
- Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar and salt to taste if needed. Mix seasoning in until satisfied with taste.
- Serve to hungry friends or family