World Cooking – Guyana

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Guyana
Progress: 42/193

When I finished my post for Benin, Guyana was a country that I really had my eye on doing next… assuming I could find the correct ingredients. It’s pretty obvious that I did, but let’s have a look into Guyana itself before going into what I actually made.

Guyana is a nation on the northern coast of South America that is sandwiched between Venezuela to the west, Suriname to the East and Brazil to the south. It is the only country on this continent that has English as an official language (due to it previously being part of the British Empire), although most members speak a Guyanese creole that is based on English.

In terms of food, Guyana has more in common with the Caribbean nations to the north than the surrounding countries on the mainland. This, like with the English language, is partially down to the trade routes that were used as part of the British Empire. This means that you have influences from Britain, Portugal, The Netherlands, Africa, other Caribbean nations and the native peoples who originally lived in Guyana.

For the purposes of this, I have chosen to make two dishes. The main dish is probably the closest to a national dish that I have been able to find (and is closely related to a dish prepared by the first inhabitants of this country); the dessert shows the countries links to Europe.

Main: Guyanese Pepperpot

Back when I bought a bottle of cassareep over two years ago I was considering using it to make pepperpot – a stew that is slowly cooked using some different cuts of meat that is heavily flavoured with cinnamon, cloves, chilli and cassareep. Since I couldn’t find cow feet, this is something I plain forgot about until researching for this cooking challenge.

It was when I came across this recipe for Guyanese Pepperpot made using a slow cooker where I finally realised how I could actually make this. I suddenly realised that pig’s feet would do, and I knew exactly where to buy some of those. So, I got up early on a Sunday to make this so that it would get a full 10 hours in the slow cooker.

The meat tasted really great, although I am not too partial to eating the cartilaginous parts of pig’s feet. The dark, sweet and spicy sauce was especially great when bread was dipped into it. My only issues with this were the abundance of small bones and just how oily parts of the sauce became. Still though, I think of this as being an interesting success.

Dessert: Guyanese Baked Custard

According to the Jehan Can Cook blog, baked custard is a popular dessert in Guyana. I’m a big fan of custard in any permutation so this was a bit of a no brainer. Also, by making this, I was able to practice the whole ‘baking something in a giant water bath’ technique that I’ll need to master if I ever want to make creme brûlée.

This was easily enough for six people, so we ended up enjoying this over a couple of days. For the final serving we topped it with some applesauce and squirty cream… which was so delicious that I wish I had thought of it earlier. Still, this was at least extremely easy to make so I can make it again at some point in the future.

Speaking of the future, it’s time to look back to Europe for the next country. I’m currently tossing something in the Balkans, which leaves me with a whole lot of options. Maybe I’ll finally have an excuse to make some spanakopita for Greece or mititei from Romania. Guess it’ll all depend on how much time I have next time it’s world cookery day.

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