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Hot Peppers

Peter_Goulding's picture

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I posted this elsewhere, but I thought others might be interested and I have a question which follows.

First of all I don't like preparations such as Tabasco Sauce. They're like sledge hammers. I prefer something with some finess. So....

Bermuda Sherry Peppers – it’s easy to make, very versatile and adds wonderful tastes where you want flavour enhancement and heat; especially with fish and seafood. This preparation is ubiquitous in Bermuda but not available anywhere else to my knowledge. That doesn’t matter because you can make as good if not better than you can buy in on the island.

The ingredients are simple: dry sherry, hot peppers and time (not thyme). The key is good quality sherry and peppers – as hot as you like. I use a ‘fino’ sherry (it goes without saying, from Spain). Fino is very dry and not too full-bodied. About a dozen medium-sized peppers – they swell quite a bit over time.

You’ll probably have 750 ml of sherry. So get a larger container, say a one-liter bottle, place the peppers in the bottle and add the sherry. Cork well and leave it in a dark place to macerate for several months or years. After two or three months you can start to decant the sherry peppers into a smaller container as needed – an empty balsamic vinegar container is good since you can easily measure out small amounts. The older it is the better it gets. The bottle I’m using now was started in 1989.

Peter

Peter_Goulding's picture

(post #25178, reply #1 of 27)

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I've been making Sherry Peppers for 25 years, but I've been somewhat indifferent to the peppers I put in - mostly out of ignorance about different types. For Sherry Peppers you want lots of heat AND flavour. At my greengrocer's, they grade the heat on a scale of one to ten.

My question is: what are the characteristics of the different pepper varieties? And what do you think would be best for this preparation?

Peter

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #25178, reply #2 of 27)

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Here is almost everything you wanted to know about chiles and more:

chileclik


Sorry Chiff, I have a grapics compulsion. Caught it from Jean.

Jean_'s picture

(post #25178, reply #3 of 27)

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WOW!!! That site if FABULOUS!! HOT HOT HOT!! More than I ever thought I wanted to know about those hot little puppies! Have you checked out the recipes yet?

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #25178, reply #4 of 27)

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Si.

mangia!'s picture

(post #25178, reply #5 of 27)

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Very clever, Senor! (Now put this:~ over the n) Gracias!

kai_'s picture

(post #25178, reply #6 of 27)

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Jean, I say "Ditto!" Mean Chef, that is a good one!

Peter, also, there is (at least) one chilihead list where you can exchange recipes and chat via email. Sorry, I don't have subscription info at hand, but I bet a search on chiliheads would eventually lead you to it.

MC, did you learn everything you know about graphics and such from the info in Sean's posts? Frankly, I'm too busy to study yet another subject, but, it seems so much fun.

Thanks!

Juli's picture

(post #25178, reply #7 of 27)

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Like this...ñ?

mangia!'s picture

(post #25178, reply #8 of 27)

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Hey, Juli! How'd you do that! Do you have a Spanish keyboard??:)

Jean_'s picture

(post #25178, reply #9 of 27)

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You can also type Paté or 50¢ or your oven is set at 350º. All kinds of fun stuff using the alt button while typing in numerals on the key pad to the right.

Geeves's picture

(post #25178, reply #10 of 27)

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Peter, Thanks for sharing a tried-and-true tradition. Developing an expertise in the whole world of "peppers" is--for certain a definite long-term study. Guess the great reward is having the know-how for "exacting" just the "right" heat and that "certain" flavor you are after.

Happy are those who have excellent availability at their markets and greenhouses. When you have fallen in love with the flavor of one, cultivate the seeds. As well, growing peppers is an art! But the effort can really pay off handsomely!

I must have a couple "red" chili plants in my garden (Southern States). The plants are gorgeous 2', the fruits around 2", (wear surgical gloves to process). To me this "generic" hot pepper (6-7) possesses all that qualities I need for a variety of applications. However, I wonder if it would be good for the Bermuda Sherry Peppers. I imagine a "fleshy" pepper for that. Anyway--always a student. If we stop learning, we stop living! (Or at least become very boring!)

leaf_lady's picture

(post #25178, reply #11 of 27)

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Chile Pepper Magazine is pretty good for general information, and they have good recipes, and book reviews, too. Their website is www.chilepepperzine.com Sorry I can't do the direct click-in thingy, so you'll have to go there the old-fashioned way.

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #25178, reply #12 of 27)

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I learned it all from Jean or by attempting to go a step farther.

Juli's picture

(post #25178, reply #13 of 27)

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Actually, I cheated -- I know how to use symbols in Microsoft Word, so I typed it in Word and then cut and pasted it here.

mangia!'s picture

(post #25178, reply #14 of 27)

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Since I'm in the kindergarten of computerese, "cut" is what you get when you fall on the playground, and "paste" is that white stuff in the jar that I hear some kids eat.

Ah well, sticking with Jean so far I've got colors, bold, and imbedding links down. Now that I know there are places to study this stuff on the web, I might move up to first grade!

Peter_Goulding's picture

(post #25178, reply #15 of 27)

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I'm overwhelmed on two counts: the size of the culture around chiliheads - I had no idea; and the quality of the Web site the Mean Chef gave us - extraordinary, a terrific example of a Web page.

Now my choice of which pepper to use for Bermuda Sherry Peppers is all the more intriguing and difficult because of the limited number I can get in Toronto!

Thanks.

Peter.

dixie_'s picture

(post #25178, reply #16 of 27)

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Where are these places to study this on the web?

leaf_lady's picture

(post #25178, reply #17 of 27)

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I wanna know these near-magical knowlege places too!

Adele_'s picture

(post #25178, reply #18 of 27)

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This may be a silly question, but, as time goes by and it is used, do you simply add more sherry? Do you take the old peppers out after a while and add more???-

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #25178, reply #19 of 27)

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I make serrano rice wine vinegar and leave the peppers in. I use it for simply the BEST cold peanut sauce there is. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

*10 garlic cloves
*1 entire bunch of cilantro
*1/2 cup UNSALTED peanut butter
*1/2 cup soy sauce
*5 tbl sugar
*1 tbl serrano rice wine vinegar
*2 Tbl chile oil

Pulse garlic and cilantro in food processor until minced. Dump into bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour to blend flavors.

This is a BIG flavor peanut sauce. Great with grilled chicken skewers.

Rebecca's picture

(post #25178, reply #20 of 27)

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This sounds really good!

Peter_Goulding's picture

(post #25178, reply #21 of 27)

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A good question. When you buy them in Bermuda, there are usually no peppers in the bottle. However, once I've made a batch I don't change anything, just keep drawing off as much as I need. It gets mellower over time, but doesn't lose its heat.

I also keep a couple of bottles aging which have been started at different times.

Peter

Peter_Goulding's picture

(post #25178, reply #22 of 27)

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There was a Thai restaurant in the Soho district of London, England that served the best peanut sauce imaginable - better than I've had in the Far East. It was so good I wrote them for the recipe. They didn't respond and then disappeared. Pitty.

This one looks good. I'll try it. Have you tried pork or beef on the skewers? They're good as well.

Peter

Peter_Goulding's picture

(post #25178, reply #23 of 27)

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Which type of chile oil are you calling for: oil infused with chile, or oil pressed from chilies?

The heat will be quite different.

Peter.

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #25178, reply #24 of 27)

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Infused. This recipe originally came from Barbara Tropp and was used with an eggplant dish.
If you are into infused chile oils, her China Moon cookbook has some of the best

Peter_Goulding's picture

(post #25178, reply #25 of 27)

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Hi Mean Chef,

I had a fresh bunch of cilantro so I made the peanut sauce today. It looks, smells and tastes good on its own with one ingredient yet to come. I just have to add last Friday's rice wine vinegar which I made with jalapeño (I'm told jalapeños are close to serrano) but want to wait for the chilies to develop - should only be a few days if the smell today is any indication!!

Thanks for the recipe.

Peter

nihon_no_cook's picture

(post #25178, reply #26 of 27)

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You know, I went out and bought the China Moon cookbook based on the enthusiastic recommendations of everyone here. Problem is, I can't find a damn thing in there that I am able to make. Ever try to find kosher salt in a Buddhist country? How about fresh hot peppers for that infused oil? Never mind the fact that you have to make at least three "background" recipes (for the special pepper salt, and infused oil, and quadruple-riffic stock, among other things) in order to put one dish on the table. I'll try it in two years when I'm back in the US and don't arrive back at my apartment at 8pm with nothing started toward dinner.

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #25178, reply #27 of 27)

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It's worth every minute. Once done you can store the stuff and cook to your hearts content. Most of the infused oils use dried peppers. Order some from any of the neighboring countries. You can use regular salt.