Posted in Historical, Other, Soups & Stews

Historical Recipes: Philadelphia Pepper Pot

file8321273931326It was the winter of 1777- 78 and an unrelenting one at that. Add War to surreal brutal temperatures and dire conditions, and you can well imagine why moral was a bust at ol’ Valley Forge. One thing was more certain than the hunger pains, desertions were at an all time high. That bein’ said, it was no surprise when George Washington decided he needed a way to lift the spirits of his soldiers and he needed to do so with great haste. But how?

Wasn’t like he could give everyone a weekend leave and free trip to the warm and toasty Bahamas. And since Spring wasn’t just around the corner, he did the only thing he could think to do….order up a fine, comfortin’ meal, hopin’, no prayin’ that would boost moral.

Problem was, a lack of food was on the “Everything Pretty Much Sucks” List. Who could tell George Washington, no, though?

Certainly not his Cook, who knocked the cobwebs off his cupboard, scratchin’ his dear head until he finally came up with a soup that would literally, go down in history. It’s ingredients may have been modest – Tripe, Peppercorns and scraps – but it’s fame would tremendous. Somethin’ to write home about. Some, mind you, would even say it was this soup which helped win the Revolutionary War.

This ex post facto dish would be called, in honor of the cook’s hometown, Philadelphia Pepper Pot.


  • 3 pounds Tripe
  • 1 knuckle of veal with meat left on
  • 2 pounds marrowbone, cracked
  • 2 large Onions, sliced
  • Soup bouquet of: several sprigs parsley; 1 bay leaf; 2 sprigs of thyme or 1/2 tsp. of dried thyme; 1 carrot cut in chunks; 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Allspice
  • 6 whole Cloves
  • 4 Potatoes, diced fine
  • 2 tsp. Marjoram
  • 2 tbsp. chopped Parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dumplings (recipe below)


  1. Wash and clean Tripe. Put Tripe in a kettle along with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6-7 hours until the Tripe is very soft.
  2. Cool Tripe. Once cool, cut into very small pieces. Pour Broth into a Container.
  3. While Tripe is cooking, put Veal knuckle in another kettle with 2 quarts of water.
  4. Remove Marrow from Marrowbone with a knife or spoon.
  5. In a saucepan, add Marrow, onions and sauté until tender. Add this to the Marrowbone kettle.
  6. Add soup bouquet, red pepper, allspice, and cloves and cook over low heat for five hours.
  7. Cool the Veal and its broth until it can be handled enough to chop meat off the bone. Discard bones but cut meat very small. Add meat to chopped Tripe.
  8. Put meat in a container and all broth in separate containers. Refrigerate overnight.
  9. Next day, discard fat from the Tripe and Veal Broth.
  10. Combine all broths. Add both chopped meats, diced potatoes, marjoram and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat for 45 minutes. Add parsley and drop dumplings in broth. Serves 12

Dumpling Ingredients

  • 1 cup sifted all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. shortening
  • about 6 tablespoons milk


  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add shortening and mix.
  3. Gradually stir in milk with fork making a soft dough.
  4. Drop by tablespoon into simmering soup, (cook all at once).
  5. Cover tightly and cook 15 minutes. Serves 6

If you serve soup the next day, make fresh dumplings.



Stylist. Cover Artist. Author.

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