Pepper Pot Soup (The Soup That Won The War)

(Air date: December 29, 2015. Source: Chef John Folse)

Prep Time: 2–3 Hours

Yields: 10 servings


Pepper Pot Soup was first made on December 29, 1777 to serve the Continental Army at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War. Originally, this soup was made with whatever ingredients that the chef could find, which included tripe.


5 slices bacon, chopped

4 tbsp butter

1 cup diced onions

1 leek, cut in half, cleaned, and sliced

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced bell peppers

¼ cup minced garlic

1 pound beef, cubed

1 pound pork, cubed

1 pound ham, cubed

4 tbsp all-purpose flour

2 quarts beef stock

½ cup chopped parsley

¼ tsp chopped thyme

¼ tsp chopped marjoram

½ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 bay leaf

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 large potato, peeled and diced

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

1 large turnip, peeled and diced

1 large parsnip, peeled and diced


In a cast iron pot, cook bacon on medium-high heat until fat is rendered. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove bacon from pot and reserve. Melt butter in bacon fat and add onion, leek, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Stir often until vegetables are wilted. Add beef, pork and ham, cooking until browned. Add flour and stir to incorporate. Add beef stock and stir until all flour is fully mixed in. Add thyme, marjoram, clove, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer 1–2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender but not falling apart. Season to taste with salt. Add potato, carrots, turnips, and parsnips. Cook 15–20 minutes until root vegetable become tender. Adjust seasonings as necessary.