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Excerpted from the 1950 classic Charleston Receipts
“Slice onions, put in jar or bottle and cover with cooking sherry. Receptacle can be refilled twice. For creamed shrimp, crab, fish, or chicken. Keep well-corked.” —Mrs. W. Turner Logan, Sr. (Louise Lesesne)

Fowler’s recipe, translated for the modern kitchen:
(MAKES 1 CUP)

Pepper Sherry
(MAKES 1 CUP)
I built my own recipe from descriptions found in books and diaries and from a 30-year-old bottle found at the back of a friend’s pantry. Most of the old recipes call for “sack,” which means a medium dry wine such as amontillado, but some did prefer a sweeter sherry. This keeps indefinitely: that 30-year-old pepper sherry was not only still usable, it was absolutely delicious.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup thinly sliced white onion or shallots
  • 1 cup medium dry amontillado or cream sherry

Pepper Sherry

  • 1/2 cup small hot peppers
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup medium dry amontillado or cream sherry

Directions

Put the onion or shallots in a clean jar or bottle that will hold at least two cups. Pour the sherry over them, stop or seal well, and steep for at least 24 hours before using.

To use the flavored sherry, decant into a cruet or bottle. The sherry can be replenished twice, after which, discard the onion and begin in a clean jar with fresh onion.

Pepper Sherry
Rinse the peppers in cold water, drain, and put them in a Pyrex or other ovenproof bowl. Bring water to a rolling boil and pour it over the peppers. Let stand one minute and drain.

Put the peppers in a clean cruet (cut glass–do not use leaded crystal), jar, or bottle that will hold at least 1½ cups. Pour the sherry over them, stop or seal well, and steep for at least 24 hours before using. Gently shake the cruet after 24 hours to distribute the peppery oils.

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