LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a love letter to chile peppers but in an educational form. “Over the decades, I noticed how much more people have become interested in chile peppers,” said Paul Bosland, Horticulture Regents Professor and director of The Chile Pepper Institute.
“We wrote it as if it were a classroom and students are learning, but anybody can do that,” said Wendy Hamilton, extension program specialist in the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences.
The duo teamed up for the research institute’s new chile cookbook. The institute gives tours of its garden of about 150 different types of chiles and has nearly 1,500 visitors a year. “We have many people asking well how do you use this, what is the purpose of this chile pepper,” said Bosland. So, they started putting pen to paper in 2019, writing a cookbook full of 100 recipes, two per chile pepper type.
“Each culture around the world has their own special chile that they like to use in their cuisines. This is really to help educate people that there’s much more than just one or two peppers in the world,” said Bosland.
In the cookbook, the authors highlight the unique qualities of each pepper along with the different chiles used in different cultures, like the aji pepper used in Peruvian and Bolivian cuisines. “The most fun is just seeing how people are surprised about the diversity of chile peppers. They just don’t realize that there are more than 5,000 different types of chile peppers around the world,” said Bosland. Some of the recipes include serrano in pico de gallo and habanero shrimp tacos.
“It’s delightful to be able to just flip the pages and find something you’re interested in because you found a chile pepper at a farmer’s market,” said Hamilton.
The cookbook costs about $25. People can buy it on Amazon or an autographed copy from The Chile Pepper Institute website. The proceeds from the book sales will go towards scholarships for the institute.