The Chile Goddess
Elizabeth Berry grows more than 400 varieties of vegetables at Gallina Canyon Ranch, her farm 70 miles northwest of Santa Fe. But it's her chiles that local chefs revere her for. Mark Miller, the chef and owner of Santa Fe's beloved Coyote Cafe and the author of the definitive Great Chile Book (Ten Speed Press), regards the chiles she grows for him as an essential part of his kitchen. "Their variety," he says, "goes well beyond the ordinary and helps us maintain our identity."
Berry grows corno del toro chiles for Miller from seeds he came back from Spain with. Eric DiStefano, the chef at Santa Fe's popular Geronimo restaurant, sits down with her every year before the spring planting season to discuss the chile varieties he'd like to use. (He favors her Italian cigaros.) And she supplies de árbol chiles to Cafe Pasqual's Katharine Kagel, who uses them to make a spicy sauce for enchiladas. A speedy version of that recipe follows, along with several others that have been inspired by Berry's remarkable chiles.