Fun Facts About the Chimayo Chile and the Best Ways to Use It

Chili Pepper Ristra

Chimayo is a charming small town rich with New Mexican history. While our destination is most known for places like the El Santuario de Chimayo and Holy Dirt, it’s also the lead producer in the popular Chimayo Chile. It boasts a bold and unique flavor that encourages chefs all over the nation to use it in several varieties of foods, even desserts! While you’re staying with us, you’ll definitely want to get some Chimayo Chile and use it in the following recipes.

Planning a getaway to Northern New Mexico soon? Then you won’t want to be without our free Vacation Guide to the area. This handy vacation planning tool is filled with all the best recommendations for things to see and do in Chimayo, Santa Fe, and beyond. You’ll have access to all the information you’ll need right in the palm of your hands.

History of the Chimayo Chile

Out of all the crops that have been grown in Chimayo over the centuries, the most important of them all was chile. The production of chile in Chimayo can be traced back to the 17th-century when the Spanish began settling the land. The Pueblo Indians who inhabited Northern New Mexico adopted the crop as their own, and it has become a staple of the local culinary scene ever since.

The pepper itself is characterized by its crooked and twisted appearance. It also has very thin skin with a sweet flavor that ranges from mild to hot. The rugged terrain and arid climate of Chimayo greatly contribute to its flavor and appearance, but this also makes for a relatively short growing season. Once the peppers have matured and are ready for harvest, they are usually dried and then used as a powder or chili flakes.

Where to Find Chile in Chimayo

It’s no surprise that the best place to find and purchase Chimayo Chile powder is Chimayo itself! Here are a few local places that sell authentic Chimayo Chile that you’ll want to use at home.

1. El Potrero Trading Post

The El Potrero Trading Post is the perfect place to find authentic food products, famous Chimayo chile powder, jewelry, folk art, and much more! The shop has been owned by a local family for many years, and they’ll be more than happy to recommend products based on your interests and needs.

2. Rancho de Chimayo

The Rancho de Chimayo has been a beloved Chimayo icon for many years and is even credited with bringing New Mexican cuisine into the spotlight! After a memorable meal, you can stop by the gift shop to grab a jar of powdered Chimayo Chile. The product is also available for online purchases.

4 Chimayo Chile Recipes That You’ll Love

1. Basic Red Chile Sauce

Ingredients: 6 tbs. Chile molido, 2 cups chicken stock or water, 1 tsp. Cumin, 2 tbs. Flour, 1 dash of red wine vinegar, 2 garlic cloves, 2 tbs. Cooking oil, 2 tsp. Oregano (optional), 1 potato, cubed and cooked (optional), salt to taste.

Instructions: Pre-soak chile in liquid for 20 minutes while sauteing the garlic in oil. Add the flour and press it flat in the skillet until it turns brown. Add the red wine vinegar, which is the secret to making the flavor come alive. If you’d like more thickness, add the mashed potatoes. The sauce can be frozen and used later.

2. Salsa Pequin

This sauce is perfect for dipping and also for smothering over taco dishes.

Ingredients: One 12 oz. can tomato juice or tomato sauce, 2 tbs. minced dry onions, 1 tbs. chile pequin or chile caribe, 1 tbs. Garlic powder, 1 tsp. Cumin, 1 tsp. Black pepper, 1 tsp. Whole ground oregano, 1 tsp. Seasoning salt (optional), ½ cup chopped green chile

Instructions: Place all ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan and simmer over low heat for one hour.

3. Green Chile Bisque

Ingredients: 2 tbs. Butter or margarine, 3 tbs. Flour, ½ cup finely chopped onions, ¾ cup chopped green chile, 1 bouillon cube in 1 cup of water, 8 oz. clam juice, 1 pint half and a half, salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions: Melt butter or margarine and then add the flour and onions. Stir until the flour is lightly brown and the onions are transparent. Then add water, clam juice, and bouillon. Stir until well blended. Add the half and half and stir until the bisque thickens. Do not boil, instead simmer. Add the chopped chile and serve hot.

4. Red Chile Chocolate Soup

This sweet treat is best served cool as a dessert.

Ingredients: 1 qt. Heavy cream, 12 oz. chocolate, ½ tsp. Red chile powder, a dash of salt

Instructions: Heat cream until it is just about to scald. Then add the chocolate and remove from the heat. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and add the chile and salt. Cool afterward.

Get a Taste of Chimayo During Your Stay at Casa Escondida

Meaning “hidden house” in Spanish, Casa Escondida definitely lives up to its name. Our charming and traditional bed and breakfast is nestled within the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains. This provides a quiet, countryside atmosphere that is perfect for relaxing getaways and romantic escapes. Our inn also enjoys close proximity to other popular destinations including Santa Fe, Taos, and Jemez Springs. If that wasn’t enough, guests of Casa Escondida also enjoy traditionally themed rooms and savory complimentary breakfast each morning. It’s everything you need and more for the vacation you’ll never forget!

Book your stay at Casa Escondida today! We look forward to welcoming you soon.

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