Pepper pot

My posting on Reading PA mentioned pepper pot (or pepperpot) soup / stew. We’re talking Philadelphia pepper pot here; Reading is in Pennsylvania Dutch country, but it’s also in the ambit of Philadelphia, with which this hearty soup is associated.

From Wikipedia:

Pepper Pot is a thick stew of beef tripe, vegetables, pepper and other seasonings. The origins of the stew are steeped in legend, with one story attributing the dish to Christopher Ludwick, baker general of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. According to this story, during the harsh winter of 1777–1778 farmers near Valley Forge sold food to the British rather than accepting the weak continental currency. The Continental Army survived on soup made of tripe, vegetables, and whatever else they could find.

Note on a recipe in all

The authentic version [of Philadelphia pepper pot] uses tripe. I have never cared for tripe, myself, and I have always substituted chicken, beef, turkey, sausage or even ham instead


tripe (cooked and then cut into small pieces), bacon, vegetables (onion, celery, leeks, parsley, bell peppers, carrots, potato), beef stock [other recipes use a rich veal stock, and add chunks of the cooked veal], herbs, lots of ground black pepper

There are many versions; here’s a photo of a somewhat different one (with peas and broccoli):

(Some versions are more soup-like, but most are stew-like.)

On tripe:

Tripe (from French: tripe, of uncertain origin) is a type of edible offal from the stomachs of various farm animals [most commonly beef].

… Dressed tripe [cleaned, with fat cut off] was a popular nutritious and cheap dish for the working classes from Victorian times up until the latter half of the twentieth century.

… It remains a popular dish in many parts of continental Europe such as France and Italy. In France, a very popular dish, sold in most supermarkets, is ‘Tripes à la mode de Caen’.

The article gives a long list of tripe dishes from around the world, including Mexican menudo, a tripe and hominy stew.

Meanwhile, there’s a West Indian pepper pot, a highly seasoned stew of vegetables and meat or fish (again, in many variants). This might be an ancestor of Philadelphia pepper pot.

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