By Diane Forrest,
With the start of winter, something that is sure to warm your insides is a nice bowl or cup of warm soup. To make things even hotter you can try some pepper pot soup, which is loaded with peppers. Below is a recipe for some famous pepper pot soup. It hasn't been around very long. It has quite an amazing history. The winter of 1777-1778 was extremely harsh. This happened to be during the Revolutionary War. Food was scarce, and soldiers were hungry. The local farmers were selling their produce to the British, because they were skeptical of the currency being offered by George Washington's troops.
It was up to Christopher Ludwick, the baker general of the Continental Army, to gather whatever food he could find to in order to feed the soldiers. He found some tripe, some pepper corn and a few vegetables and put together this stew.
Tripe, for those of you who don't know, is the stomach lining of the cow. Of course it is also in other animals, but the one from the cow is the one that is mostly eaten. For human consumption, tripe must be washed and meticulously cleaned. It is ideal to boil it for two or three hours in water with salt (1 tablespoon per liter of water) to soften it and also clean it in the process.
This soup served its purpose. The men were saved from starvation, and warmed them up from the cold. With their stomachs full and their moral boosted, they went on to battle and won the war, in fact it was said that this soup is the soup that won the war.
These days, you can use chicken or beef in place of the tripe, but today, on Pepper Pot Day, try warming up your insides with a hot spicy bowl of soup, you may even win a war of your own.
Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup
- 1 pound honeycomb tripe
- 5 slices bacon, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 3 leeks, chopped
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 green bell peppers, diced
- 2 quarts beef stock
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 4 tablespoons margarine
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Place the tripe or other meat that you have selected to use in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and turn off the heat. Allow the meat to cool a bit in the water, and then drain and rinse. Cut into 1/4 inch pieces.
- In a large heavy kettle, sauté the bacon until clear. Add the onion, celery, leeks, parsley, and green peppers; sauté until tender.
- Stir in beef stock, thyme, marjoram, cloves, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and black pepper. Bring the kettle to a boil, and turn down to a simmer. Cook, covered, until meat is very tender, about 2 hours.
- Add the diced potato and carrots, and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
- Prepare the roux by stirring the flour into the melted butter or margarine, and cooking for a moment on the stove. When the soup is done to your liking, stir in the roux. Simmer, stirring all the while, until the soup thickens a bit. Correct the seasonings.