My Sweet Chicos
If you’re from the southwest, you have probably eaten chicos. You may have even made them. If you aren’t familar with the roasted, dried corn, you might be thinking of the Spanish term ‘chico’ which refers to a somewhat brash or cheeky young man. I’ve most often heard and used the term as friendly affection (‘chica’ for the ladies).
Anyway, we have had so much corn this year, truly an amazing crop. While I have frozen a good chunk, we decided to try making chicos. The corn is harvested from the garden and up at the house we check for worm, cutting the damaged part off. The husk is left on the corn. We tried two methods of roasting – on the grill and in the oven. Both methods take hours. The grill method left the flame-side charred (but the rest of the cob was fine). The oven method created much less charring. Place corn in tray, stacked to top of tray, and cover with foil; 350 degrees for ~3 hours.
Once the corn was done roasting (and it smells incredible), the trays are removed from the oven and left to cool. Once cool, we pulled the husks back exposing the kernels. The husks were used to tie each cob to a rope, creating a ristra of roasted corn. At this point, the kernels are still moist, so they have to be hung to dry. Once dried, you can do one of two things: 1) Pop all the kernels off and store them in containers, or 2) Leave the cobs hanging and just pull off one or two as needed. The kernels pop out easily and the dried corn is great in soups, stews, and casseroles, giving a roasted flavor to the dish.
My Main Man would like to build an horno (outdoor oven) to do roasted corn the old fashioned way, like in this video:
Hornos can be used for a variety of things like slowly roasting a large cut of meat, or baking bread. I can see several uses for an horno.
We still have lots of corn in the field to get in before the frost. I am not ready for Fall – I think I need to ask Mother Nature for an extension. You can find me int eh garden or kitchen this time of year.