National Pepper Pot Day

I can honestly say that I have never heard of the story or legend of the Pepper Pot which I find difficult to believe since I am such a history buff.    The story goes on that on this day (December 29) in 1777; a soup which was spicy and warm was served to the Continental Army on the orders of George Washington.

The era was the time of the Revolutionary War; the Continental Army had set up camp Valley Forge during the winter.  The legend states that George Washington himself had asked the cook to serve up something special since the men had been enduring such harsh wintery conditions.  George Washington wanted a special meal that would not only keep the Army warm but would also help boost their morale.

Having experienced ice storms and frigid temperatures in the past in the mid-Michigan area, I can just imagine how cold these soldiers must have been as they camped out at Valley Forge.  Since the food and other supplies were limited in the area at the time, the Army’s chef used the resources that were on hand which included pieces of tripe, small pieces of meat and peppercorn.  The chef added these ingredients with others into a big pot hence the Pepper Pot was born.  The Pepper Pot soup is also known as the Philadelphia Pepper Pot soup.  The spicy soup was an instant hit among the Army men.  Some even deemed the Pepper Pot, “the soup that won the war”.

I haven’t tried to make this soup yet.  I just don’t have all these ingredients on hand.  So, I will have to let you know in the future how the soup turned out. After some searching, I found a recipe for Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup on About.com, here’s the recipe which was submitted by Peggy Trowbridge Filippone:

Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup

Ingredients:

1-1/2 pounds beef honeycomb tripe

3 teaspoons salt

Water with 1 Tablespoon salt

3 Tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped onions

1 whole onion, studded with 3 cloves

1 rib celery, sliced thin

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thin

1 leek (about 1 cup), washed, sliced, including tender green part

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1 small meaty veal knuckle

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle Chile powder or cayenne pepper

1 bay leaf, broken in half

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups 1/2-inch-diced potatoes

1 cup evaporated milk or heavy cream

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 Tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tablespoons water

1/3 cup butter for garnish

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preparation:

Rinse tripe under cold water. Drain and place on a cutting board. Sprinkle with salt and rub into tripe to clean the crevices. Rinse again to remove salt.

Place tripe in a 3-quart saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches, with the tablespoon of salt stirred in. Slowly bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Drain tripe and let cool. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.

Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter, chopped onions, whole onion, celery, carrots, leeks, and bell pepper. Stir to coat the vegetables, cover, and reduce heat, simmer, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.

Add broth and water to the pot, along with the veal knuckle, tripe, garlic, Chile powder, bay leaf, oregano, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1-1/2 hours.

Remove the veal knuckle and pick off the meat, cutting any large pieces down to bite size. Discard the whole onion. Return the veal meat to the pot, along with potatoes, evaporated milk, and parsley. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Stir in cornstarch mixture and simmer 2 to 3 minutes until slightly thickened.

Swirl butter into the hot soup until melted and immediately ladle into bowls to serve. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.  Yield: 6 servings

Reference:

Filippone, P. (2013). Philadelphia pepper pot soup recipe. Retrieved

from: http://homecooking.about.com/od/soups/r/blss112.htm

Photo Credit: Pixgood.com

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