Chico Soup with Red Chile
November 15, 2006
Having worked so hard this fall to prepare the chicos, I was pleased to make chico soup with a twist. While most chico soup recipes call for roasted beef ribs, pork, or chicken, I decided to use a traditional Mexican game bird instead: the humble quail.
This recipe has three main parts: chicos, quail, and red chile. I suggest you make the red chile in advance and freeze the leftovers for other dishes like enchiladas or huevos rancheros. The quail can be made using my unique Garlic and Cumin pesto recipe. I have posted this recipe separately so as to give you a better perspective about the ingredients that can go into chicos, but also to edify the glorious little kernels that can be eaten all by themselves.
There are few things as simple and tasty as a pot of fresh cooked chicos. All that is required is water, chicos, pressure and time (sort of like the creation of igneous rocks, minus the chicos). First, you will need the following:
- 1 c of chicos
- 5 c of water
- salt to taste
- pressure cooker or crock pot
Step One: To clean the chicos, take the chicos out of the bag and spread them on a table. Pick out the burnt chicos. Place chicos in a small bowl,and slowly pour them into another bowl while blowing on them. This process removes any excess chaff on the kernels that remains. Rinse chicos in a colander or sieve.
Step Two: Place chicos and water in a crock pot or pressure cooker. Understanding the size of your cooker may vary, you can add 4 c of water instead of 5 c (I just like a lot of chico juice). If cooking in a crock pot, cook on low overnight and immediately turn off in the morning (about 8 hours later). If cooking in a pressure cooker, cooking time will be 50 minutes after the pot starts to "chiar" or hiss. remove from the heat and cool. Serve in bowls with salt to taste, or add red chile for good measure.
Chicos are traditionally served in a fresh pot of beans or with a meat of some kind. You can use beef, chicken, or whatever game bird or other meat you like. My next post contains a recipe for garlic-cumin pesto quails over chicos in red chile. My only caution is that the quails must be cooked right before serving on order to keep them tender and juicy, otherwise they dry out in the oven and turn that horrid grey color that many game birds turn when overcooked. EEK! For now, enjoy the simplicity of cooked chicos with salt and perhaps a bit of chile.