Que Viva Española

QueVivaEspanola

Que Viva Española

Española is an online community that promotes and explores the culture, history, and traditions around the Española Valley area. Que Viva publishes a weekly column in the Valley Daily Post. The objective is uniting as a community to celebrate what makes the valley beautiful and unique while changing the culture of crime and drugs.


Chicos, the other Corn

When tourists visit New Mexico, our unique style of cuisine is often the main attraction, with well-known favorites such as Stuffed Sopaipillas, Chile Rellenos, Tamales, Enchiladas and Posole that please the palettes of our visitors. And of course we can’t leave out Green Chile. But there is one dish that is so unique, it’s often left out on the menus of local restaurants. Chicos are an all too familiar food not only amongst the Pueblo Natives but with the Hispanic community here in the Valley and across Northern New Mexico. So what are Chicos? Well they are field corn that is tied onto ristras (strings) and hung to dry, then the kernels are rubbed off and cooked. The traditional method includes slow-roasting them in a horno oven and then dried on rooftops. They are roasted by starting a wood fire in the horno, and when the oven walls reach the right temperature, the embers are raked to the side with a hoe, placing the moistened corn in its husks inside, sealing the door and vent hole, and leaving the corn to roast overnight. The next morning the horno is opened, the corn is removed, rubbed off and cooked in a pot. Pork or Lamb meat is often used alongside it as a stew.

This dish is traditionally served during the holiday season for Thanksgiving and Christmas or on New Year’s for good luck. And some of the native pueblos serving it during their annual feast days. There are local stores in the area like Romero’s Fruit Stand in Hernandez that sell the dried corn, seasonally. I’m lucky enough to have family members who grow and dry the corn themselves, giving me the supply I need for the year.

For a quick recipe, here is one I use:

1 cup chicos

5 cups of water

12 oz of pork stew meat

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

In a stockpot add a tablespoon of oil. Bring to medium heat. Add the stew meat (add salt and pepper, use your own discretion) and onions, sautéing until the onion is soft.

Add the garlic and cook for 2 additional minutes. Once that’s done add the 5 cups

of water and cup of chicos and bring to a boil. Once that is completed reduce

to a simmer and allow to cook for 3 -4 hours. Cook until they are a little firm.

Adding Green Chile or Red Chile during the process is common, feel free to do so.

Enjoy!

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Española is an online community that promotes and explores the culture, history, and traditions around the Española Valley area. Que Viva publishes a weekly column in the Valley Daily Post. The objective is uniting as a community to celebrate what makes the valley beautiful and unique while changing the culture of crime and drugs.

 

Chicos, the other Corn

When tourists visit New Mexico, our unique style of cuisine is often the main attraction, with well-known favorites such as Stuffed Sopaipillas, Chile Rellenos, Tamales, Enchiladas and Posole that please the palettes of our visitors. And of course we can’t leave out Green Chile. But there is one dish that is so unique, it’s often left out on the menus of local restaurants. Chicos are an all too familiar food not only amongst the Pueblo Natives but with the Hispanic community here in the Valley and across Northern New Mexico. So what are Chicos? Well they are field corn that is tied onto ristras (strings) and hung to dry, then the kernels are rubbed off and cooked. The traditional method includes slow-roasting them in a horno oven and then dried on rooftops. They are roasted by starting a wood fire in the horno, and when the oven walls reach the right temperature, the embers are raked to the side with a hoe, placing the moistened corn in its husks inside, sealing the door and vent hole, and leaving the corn to roast overnight. The next morning the horno is opened, the corn is removed, rubbed off and cooked in a pot. Pork or Lamb meat is often used alongside it as a stew.

This dish is traditionally served during the holiday season for Thanksgiving and Christmas or on New Year’s for good luck. And some of the native pueblos serving

it during their annual feast days. There are local stores in the area like Romero’s

Fruit Stand in Hernandez that sell the dried corn, seasonally. I’m lucky enough to have

family members who grow and dry the corn themselves, giving me the supply I need for the year.

For a quick recipe, here is one I use:

  • 1 cup chicos
  • 5 cups of water
  • 12 oz of pork stew meat
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

In a stockpot add a tablespoon of oil. Bring to medium heat. Add the stew meat (add salt and pepper, use your own discretion) and onions, sautéing until the onion is soft.

Add the garlic and cook for 2 additional minutes. Once that’s done add the 5 cups

of water and cup of chicos and bring to a boil. Once that is completed reduce

to a simmer and allow to cook for 3 -4 hours. Cook until they are a little firm.

Adding Green Chile or Red Chile during the process is common, feel free to do so.

Enjoy!

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