The Chimayó chile is grown in northern New Mexico, between Santa Fe and Taos, where according to legend it has existed since 1598. Describing the chile in Saveur magazine, Deborah Madison wrote, "its perfume is remarkable — a particular mix of sweetness, richness, and spiciness — simultaneously grounding and exhilarating. It is piquant without being overbearingly hot, with a bite that offsets the complexity of its distinctive chile flavor."
After listening to me reminisce on and on about that enchilada sauce, my stepfather kindly mailed me a packet of brick red Chimayó molido, or powder. Following the enclosed recipe, I made a simple, fragrant sauce with the addition of flour, garlic, oregano, water, oil, and salt. Here are a few other recipes. It can also be used in any recipe that calls for red chile powder, like Emma's Chili-Spiked Sweet Potato Fries.
• Chimayo Chile & Mango Jam, from Chilefire.com
• Chimayó-Chile Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms, from Food & Wine
• Red Chile Sauce, from Chilefire.com
• Stacked Blue Corn and Red Chile Enchiladas Recipe, from 101 Cookbooks
• Buy it: The Chile Addict
(Image: Emily Ho)