Dried corn – known as chicos – is a versatile kitchen staple in Mexico and the American Southwest.
Chicos, dried corn, is a staple for many families in the American southwest and Mexico, as well as in other parts of the world. There are a variety of ways to prepare chicos and no one variety of corn is used. Families tend to have their own favorite corn varieties and methods of preparing chicos.
Corn, dried as chicos, can be stored and used throughout the year. This is a skill many of us should be learning and using because it allows us to choose a heritage variety of corn and avoid having to use GMO varieites used by production farming operations. Anything we can do to help secure a healthier future for our children should be considered a valuable use of our time.
How to make chicos
…easy – in the oven or on the stove!
- A quantity of sweet corn – whatever is ready to harvest.
1. Leave the husks on the corn and boil thirty minutes OR roast in the oven for an hour.
2. Dry the corn. When dry, peel back the husks and remove the silk, but leave the husks attached.
3. Use thick string or twine to bind the husks and tie the chicos together. Use the twine to hang the chicos in a dry storage place.
How one family makes chicos
…in an outdoor oven.
What you may need while preparing and cooking chicos
…large spoon, dutch oven, bean pot, and lots of kitchen string!
Ways to use chicos
…chicos are a versatile staple – great to have on hand.
Dried corn can be substituted for fresh or canned corn in any recipe. Great in soups!
1. Soak in water overnight to prepare to use the whole grain.
2. Grind the corn to use as corn flour or corn meal.
3. Crush the corn and soak for an hour to use in recipes.
Learn to cook like the Mexicans do
..for authentic Mexican food whenever you want it.
Chicos con Frijoles
…easy Mexican recipe.
- 1 part chicos
- 3 parts pinto beans
- lots of water – enough to keep moist while cooking
Check pinto beans for stones and remove any found. Combine with chicos and soak overnight, then drain. Cover with fresh water (I use spring water) and add salt to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and boil, covered, for about five hours, or until tender.
Delicious in burritos with cheese, fresh onions, and salsa!