Chilli Sherry and What To Do With It
Combining chillies and sherry might sound like an eccentric fantasy today but I remember the 1960s (even though I was there - just about). Back then sherry was one of the staples in dinner party and restaurant cooking and, despite what we're often told, chillies and spices were available to English cooks who wanted them. So it was perfectly reasonable to stick a few chillies in one of your bottles of sherry while listening to the new Beatles LP. In fact, this method turns up in the Constance Spry Cookery Book published way back in the mid 1950s. Since then, sherry in cooking has become a bit of a joke and faded from use. It deserves a revival.
How To Make Chilli Sherry (it's really simple):
Step 1 - Go and buy a bottle of sherry.
The two types of sherry favoured these days seem to be the very dry or the very sweet. For sipping purposes, I totally agree, but for chilli sherry in the kitchen a medium or medium-sweet is probably the most useful of all in my opinion.
Step 2 - Wash and dry 2 or 3 long, red chillies and either cut a small slit in each chilli or prick them a few times with the point of a knife. Put the chillies in a sterilised bottle and fill with the sherry.
Actually, you can use any chillies you like, but I think long, red chillies look good in the bottle and add the right amount of heat for me.
Step 3 - Seal the bottle, place in a cupboard and leave it alone for a week or two before using.
The chilli sherry will keep for a long time. Constance Spry suggests that it will keep indefinitely if you keep topping it up with more sherry, but I'd be inclined to renew it every now and then.