Red Chile & Red Wine Jelly

adapted from Peggy Trowbridge Filippone on About.com.

I substituted ground allspice for whole berries and New Mexico red chile powder for ancho chile.  I did not strain out the chile before making the wine into jelly because I wanted to keep all of the heat.

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon New Mexican red chile powder (rec. Gilly’s)
2 cups red wine
3 cups granulated white sugar
6 ounces liquid pectin (1 pkg)

  1. Pour red wine  into a container with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Add allspice and chile powder.
  3. Seal container and shake to combine. Let steep for 4 hours on the counter out of the sun (or 1 week in fridge).
  4. Add sugar and stir.
  5. Bring slowly to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until all of the sugar has dissolved and wine is clear, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in pectin.
  7. Skim off the foam and pour into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/2-inch head-space.
  8. Seal and cook in hot water bath for 15 minutes.Yield: about 4 half-pints
  • Do not discard the foam – use it just like any other jam. It’s not as pretty, but it still tastes good.
  • I have used several different red wines in making this jelly – Merlot, Cabernet & Zinfandel.  I know many cooks say that if you don’t like to drink it, don’t cook with it, but this jelly made wonderful use of wines that I thought were too dry to drink.

Arrabiata Sauce – well, kind of

While we were in Italy, I made this dish at one of the bed & breakfasts we stayed at.  The owner kindly let us cook dinner for ourselves when we got there too late to go out to dinner.

Cooking in a strange kitchen using only what they have in their cabinets and fridge can be challenging. More so when all the labels are in a foreign language. Based on what I found and the memory of an Arrabiata sauce recipe I had read before, I threw this together. It turned out quite tasty, so I wrote it down before I forgot what I put in it. This made one serving.
whole dried peperoncini
1 tsp olive oil (olio di oliva)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (pomodoro), chopped
1/2 anchovy fillet (acciughe), chopped
1 tsp fennel seed (finocchio), crushed
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (peperoncini)
1 Tbsp tomato paste (concentrato di pomodoro)
Splash red wine (vino)
1 Tbsp Italian parsley (prezzemolo), chopped
cooked pasta
Parmesan, grated

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Add tomatoes, anchovy, fennel seed and red pepper. Cook until tomatoes are soft.
  3. Add tomato paste, red wine and parsley.  Cook until slightly thickened.
  4. Pour over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  • Peperoncini were everywhere – fresh bunches in the produce stalls and dried in the grocery stores. I was especially intrigued by the grinders filled with whole dried red peperoncini – similar to a grinder that we use for black pepper.