3 to 4 medium fresh piri piri chiles with seeds
6 to 8 small dried piri piri chiles
1 to 2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons whiskey
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup olive oil, divided
Stem and roughly chop the chiles. Pulse the chiles and garlic in a food processor or use a mortar and pestle to mash them to a paste. You need about 2 tablespoons of chile paste.
Scrape the paste out into a small saucepan, add the whiskey and heat over low heat until warm. Add the lemon zest and juice, vinegar, bay leaf, salt and 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (you can add extra garlic if you want it more garlicky). Simmer until aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and lightly whisk in the rest of the oil.
Pour into a sterilized jar and refrigerate for at least a few days for the flavors to mingle. The oil will be hot at first, but you’ll find it will settle and mellow later.
Notes: Fresh piri piri chiles are hard to find, but you can substitute fresh red Fresno chiles, which are widely available. Dried piri piri chiles can be found online at americanspice.com (under “birdseye”) and wholespice.com (under “African birdseye”); you can also substitute dried arbol chiles.