Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Hot Stuff: Nineteenth Century Chili Recipes.

Many recipes using chili peppers or cayenne powder have appeared here over the years, but I thought it might be fun to focus on one period in history – the nineteenth century.

Firstly, the definitions and dates of first known written use, as per the Oxford English Dictionary:

Cayenne: (Also called Cayenne pepper). A very pungent powder obtained from the dried and ground pods and seeds of various species of Capsicum, esp. C. annuum and C. frutescens, of South America; used as a condiment in cookery and as a stimulant in medicine; formerly called Guinea pepper.

First reference: 1756, in  P. Browne Civil & Natural History of  Jamaica “The Cayan pepper or butter of the West-Indians.”

Chili:  The dried pod of species of Capsicum or Red Pepper, esp. C. annuum fastigiatum and frutescens. The pods, which are acrid, pungent, and of a deep red colour when ripe, are largely used as a condiment, and when reduced to powder form the basis of Cayenne pepper.

First reference given as occurring in 1662, from H. Stubbe’s Indian Nectar  “ Some Pepper called Chille … was put in … ”

And here, for your delectation, my choice of recipes for this wonderful hot stuff:

Chili Vinegar.
This is commonly made with Foreign Bird Pepper, but you will obtain a much finer flavour from infusing fifty fresh Red English Chilies (cut in half, or pounded,) in a pint of the best Vinegar for a fortnight, or a quarter ounce of Cayenne Pepper.
Obs. – Many people cannot eat Fish without the addition of an Acid, and Cayenne Pepper; to such Palates this will be an agreeable relish.
Cook’s Oracle (1827) by William Kitchiner.

Chili, or Cayenne Wine.
Pound and steep fifty fresh Red Chilies, or a quarter of an ounce of Cayenne Pepper, in half a pint of Brandy, White Wine, or Claret, for fourteen days.
Obs. – This is a “Bonne Bouche” for lovers of Cayenne, of which it takes up a larger proportion of its flavour, than of its fire: which being instantly diffused, it is a very useful auxiliary to warm and finish Soups and Sauces, &c.
Cook’s Oracle (1827) by William Kitchiner.

Essence of Cayenne.
Put half an ounce of cayenne pepper into half a pint of wine or brandy, let it steep a fortnight, then pour off the clear liqor. This article is very convenient for the ex-tempore seasoning and finishing of soups and sauces, its flavour being instantly and equally diffused.
The Cook and Housekeeper's Complete and Universal Dictionary (1822), by Mary Eaton

Cayenne Vinegar.
Put half an ounce of cayenne pepper into a bottle, and pour on it a pint ot pale vinegar. Cork it closely, and shake it well every two or three days. It may remain any length of time belore it is poured off, but will very soon be ready for use.
The Dictionary of Daily Wants, by Robert Kemp Philp (1861)

Chili Sauce.
Take nine large or eighteen small tomatoes, scald, peel, and chop, with two peppers and one large onion. Add one tablespoonful of salt, two of sugar, one teaspoonful each of ginger, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, one nutmeg, and two small cups of vinegar. Stew half an hour; bottle while hot.
The Appledore Cook Book: Containing Practical Receipts for Plain and Rich Cooking
(1872) by Maria Parloa.

And a couple more from previous posts:

3 comments: said...

Wonderful stuff, Janet! Today on Zester I have an article on some older Asian-inspired recipes from the 18th and early 19th. I also have a series of foreign looks at curry on the blog.

You wouldn't have happened to come across any Asian-inspired dishes on early tavern menus, would you?

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Laura - great minds think alike and post almost simultaneously on the same topic, Heh?
I will have a look at early menus - do you specifically want tavern menus, or other types of dining establishment?

Laura Kelley said...

Hi Janet! Any type of establishment will do. The problem, of course, with tavern menus is that they were temporary bills of fare or just chalkboard menus. Many thanks in advance for your help.