Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cookbook Review: The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia Author (s): Dave DeWitt

Book or Magazine Title: The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia Author (s): Dave DeWitt
Category: Reference
ISBN: 0-688-15611-8
Publisher: William Morrow & Company, Inc.
Date published: 1999
Edition: N/A
Description: Soft cover
Illustrated: Some
Photographs: Yes a few black and white
Pages: 338
Price: $13.57 at Amazon.com

Which type of chile is the hottest?

What country did the first chile plants come from?

Can chiles really be used to cure headaches and memory loss?

How did "bird" chiles get their name?

Why are some people more sensitive to the heat of chiles?

What's the best way to cool "chile burn"?

These are just a few of the questions you'll find answers to in The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia. World-renowned chile expert Dave DeWitt has compiled this exhaustive A-to-Z collection of entries on everything you'll ever need to know about chiles. Using this encyclopedia, you'll learn about chile species, origins, terminology, cuisines, and agriculture. Medicinal uses and chile folklore are covered in often painful detail for example, nineteenth-century Peruvians believed that the juice of crushed chiles applied to the eyes would cure conjunctivitis. For true chileheads, there's information on chile fairs and festivals and hot sauces and salsas, and DeWitt attempts to settle the endless debate over the origin of the most famous of chile dishes, chili con came.

The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia is also filled with more than one hundred hot and spicy recipes.

Each recipe is rated on a heat scale from the mild Indian Minced Meat Curry to the extremely hot Chiltepin House Sauce made with 2 cups of chiles. There are even a few spicy desserts, like Chocolate Chess and Chile Pie, for chile lovers who just can't get enough heat.

Black-and-white drawings and photographs, charts, and tables appear throughout the book and a color insert includes photographs of dozens of chile types, invaluable for identification, making this an indispensable sourcebook for chile aficionados, gardeners, cooks, and anyone else who has a burning interest in fiery foods.

DAVE DEWITT is an internationally known chile pepper expert and the author and coauthor of numerous books and articles about chiles. DeWitt, the founder of the National Fiery Foods Show and cofounder of The Chile Institute, was the editor-in-chief of Chile Pepper magazine for ten years and is currently the editor and publisher of Fiery Foods magazine. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This book is a very good read and has more information and answers about chiles than any other book I have seen. But, this book is lacking photos of the different kinds of chiles. When I was (actually I still am somewhat) a newbie to using chiles I needed photos to pick out the right chiles in the store. This book would be a great companion to the picture book The Great Chile Book by Mark Miller.



This is one of the classic paprika recipes from Hungary. Be sure to use only imported paprika in this dish, or the flavor will not be the same. It is traditionally cooked with lard or goose fat and served with dumplings. Serve over egg noodles, plain rice, or boiled potatoes.



3 tablespoons corn oil
2 tablespoons butter
One 2 1/2 to 3-pound chicken, cut into serving pieces
2 medium onions, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 rounded tablespoon medium-hot paprika
1 tablespoon hot paprika
2 rounded tablespoons mild paprika
2 tablespoons brandy
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 whole, fresh, long, red chile, such as New Mexican
1/3 to 1/2 cup sour cream
Salt to taste

In a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and butter.
Add the chicken pieces and cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and set aside. Add the chopped onions to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Reduce the heat to very low, stir in all the paprika, and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly. Add the brandy and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the browned chicken pieces and mix well. Add the chicken stock and whole hot red pepper.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a serving platter and keep warm. Bring the liquid in the casserole to a boil over high heat, and cook until the liquid is reduced by about one third.
Turn the heat to low, and slowly stir in the sour cream, until the sauce is smooth. Add salt to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

1 comment:

Portia Little said...

Thanks for reviewing this intriguing-sounding book about chile peppers, Diane. I can't wait to try the chicken paprika recipe (after it cools off here).
Portia Little