What is Pepper Pot Soup?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2018
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The term pepper pot soup is used to describe two regional soups, one from the American Northeast and another from the Creole community in the American South and Caribbean. Both soups have distinct flavors and lengthy histories which make them regional favorites. Both types are also very easy to prepare at home, and can be a good choice for the winter months, since the long stewing will heat the house, while the peppery flavor will clear out any clogged sinuses.

The version of this soup which is prepared in the American Northeast is sometimes known as Philadelphia pepper pot soup, referencing a city where it is particularly popular. This soup has been prepared since the Colonial era, and it features tripe as a star ingredient, stewed with vegetables and pepper in a rich broth. The soup utilizes offal and root vegetables to their best advantage, which would have made it a useful soup for people living in poverty in the Colonial era, and apparently people acquired a taste for it, since this soup can be seen on many regional menus.


The Creole pepper pot soup is quite different. The star ingredient of this soup is a dark green leafy vegetable, seasoned with garlic, scallions, thyme, and a hot pepper such as a Scotch bonnet. Most cooks also add in an assortment of available vegetables and meats, so the soup may include things like yams, crab, tomatoes, carrots, ham, and okra, among other things. This soup tends to be quite spicy, and it may be tempered with a rich broth and plenty of bell peppers.

Creole pepper pot soup is sometimes called “callaloo,” a reference to the dark green leafy vegetable which is involved in its preparation. “Callaloo” means “amaranth” in Jamaica, and amaranth is a popular choice of vegetable for this soup, although cooks can also use kale, chard, spinach, taro leaves, and a variety of other greens. This soup's origins lie in Africa, where such stews are common, and it reflects a blend of the Old World and the New which was common on many plantations in the American South and Caribbean.

In some regions, callaloo is actually a side dish of stewed greens which is served along with foods like cornbread, roast ham, rice, and so forth. Depending on regional tastes, the callaloo may be heavily spiced, or seasoned with ingredients like ham to make the flavor more complex. Generally the callaloo under discussion is clear from the context.


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Post 10

@turkay1: Tripe needs to be scraped and cleaned before cooking, so having your butcher cut it into pieces isn't a good idea. It's not hard to clean, but it is essential, and cutting it yourself only takes a few minutes.

Post 9

@literally45-- Tripe is the stomach lining of cattle. But don't let that put you off. When it's cooked in Philadelphia pepper pot soup, it tastes just like meat and absorbs all the lovely smells from the vegetables.

You can get tripe from butcher's shops. They can also cut it up for you for the soup so that you don't have to deal with it at home. I don't know why people shy away from the Philadelphia version of this soup because of the tripe. I can't imagine pepper pot soup without tripe, it's the best ingredient.

Post 8

What's tripe? Where can I find it?

I really like spicy foods and this sounds really good.

Post 7

@pharmchick78-- You can definitely make this soup vegetarian. In fact, I think it would be an ideal vegetarian dish because it contains so many different ingredients. It has a lot of flavor.

I don't know about meat alternatives, you can just leave the meat out and incorporate as many of the vegetables listed here as possible. If you have any other vegetables at home, you can add those in there too. I'm sure it will be really good.

Post 6

Pepper pot soup is still made in Canada for Campbells.

Post 5

Campbell's discontinued Pepper Pot Soup.

Post 4

Please, where can I find Campbell's Pepper Pot soup? I need it as an ingredient in a special recipie.

Post 3

Is it possible to make vegetarian pepper pot soup?

It sounds really tasty, but my boyfriend is a vegetarian -- are there any substitutes you can use for the meat?

Post 2

Did you know that there's a Campbell's pepper pot soup?

I've never tried it, but I think it's made in the more northern style -- there's tripe involved.

I'm not sure how I'd feel about canned tripe...

Post 1

My gram was big into homemade soup, and she had the best pepper pot soup recipe.

We're from Louisiana, so no innards are involved, but here's her fail proof Jamaican pepper pot soup recipe:

Take a chicken and one pig's foot and about one and a half pounds of pork tenderloin, chop both into chunks.

Boil the chicken and pig foot for about an hour at a low heat, then add in the tenderloin, along with an onion, a chili pepper (no seeds), a clove or two, a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, a stick of cinnamon, and a fourth a cup of cassareep.

Skim the top periodically for fat while you boil it for another hour, then take out the cloves and cinnamon and toss them.

You'll end up with a tasty and healthy soup!

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