Caribbean hot pepper sauce


1/4 to 1/3 lb small fresh hot red peppers
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup good brandy
1/2 cup strained fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper, optional

How to prepare

Rinse and drain peppers; cut off and discard stems. Slice peppers roughly in a food processor. Chop peppers; gradually add sherry and brandy, continuing to run machine until it produces a rough puree. Add lime juice and salt; add ground hot red pepper if fresh peppers used are fairly mild. Scrape mixture into a clean, dry pint jar. Cover top with square of nylon net or two layers of cheesecloth held in place with band portion of canning lid. Set jar in warm spot and allow to ripen and swap flavors for two or three weeks, giving it a gentle shake now and then. Taste sauce and add more ground hot red pepper if needed. Pour sauce into processor and puree again, this time making as smooth as possible. Press sauce through a very fine-meshed sieve, then funnel into a bottle suitable for table use. Cap sauce tightly and store in refrigerator (hotness will keep longer) or cupboard. It separates somewhat as it stands, so shake it before use.

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