Chicos, calabacitas, hornos

The other day I mentioned a sign for chicos.



Chicos: Corn kernels, horno-(oven-) roasted or dried outdoors, chicos are less common than posole but are a treat when available. Often chicos will be served in chicken or pork stock on their own, or added to stews, soups, or calabacitas.



Calabacitas – A summer vegetable sautéd with slices of summer squash, zucchini, or similar squash. Often green chile, and/or corn, will be mixed in and perhaps tomatoes, green beans, or other garden vegetables.



The above came directly from New Mexico Magazine, where I first learned of chicos. I read that they lend a somewhat smoky flavor to the dish to which they are added. If you’ve driven in New Mexico, you’ve probably noticed how many hornos there are. Here’s the Wikipedia link. You can also find directions on building one for yourself. And then you can get your own ears of corn and dry them in your own horno.

imageAt the Santa Fe School of Cooking, chicos are sometimes available and come in the attractive tins seen here. I learned that chicos are very seasonal, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Here is their recipe for Calabacitas and chicos. When I followed the chicos sign and drove up that narrow, dusty road to buy them, I was asked if I wanted yellow or white chicos. Yellow is good with pork and the other, well, I don’t remember. I got yellow.

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