Hello, Amy Valdés Schwemm here. When I want to offer people several varieties of mole to taste, I make small batches of each sauce and serve them in mini electric crocs. Guests can spoon mole over servings of turkey or these bean and corn cakes. They make a perfect vegetarian main course or a hearty side.
If you want a taste, meet me at The Food Conspiracy Co-op Saturday, November 21, 4-7pm. There will be other samples, including wine, and everyone (not just members) gets 10% off everything.
The recipe for Bean and Chicos Dinner Cakes was published in Furrow to Fire: Recipes from the Native Seeds/SEARCH Community, its author unknown to the editors. Chicos are New Mexican corn kernels roasted when still fresh, then dried. Sometimes they have a smokey taste that can almost be a seasoning if you cook a handful with a pot of beans. I often substitute Tohono O’odham gai’iwsa or Mexican posole. Using a bean with a creamy texture helps to hold the patties together. I’ve made it countless times, sometimes substituting ingredients wildly. They hold in a warm oven perfectly until ready to serve.
The photo above used lots of white posole and some canario beans. For tomorrow’s tasting, I’m using plenty of pintos and a little yellow polenta. No need to measure or time the polenta, as this recipe is so forgiving. Kneading in dry cornmeal when forming the patties (instead of just mixing it in) will fix the mixture at the perfect consistency.
I like to carefully reduce the bean cooking liquid, affectionately referred to as bean juice in our family, because I can’t imagine draining it.
Pulse everything in the food processor or mash by hand, and season to taste. Make big or small cakes to suit the occasion.
1/2 cup chicos
1 cup beans, cooked and drained
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 I’itoi or green onion, minced
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon chile powder (or substitute Mano Y Metate Adobo powder)
Place chicos and enough water to cover in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about one hour, until chicos are fairly soft. Cool slightly, then drain and coarsely chop. Set aside.
Combine beans, cornmeal, onion and chile powder and either mash by hand or whirl briefly in a food processor. Combine with the chicos, adding salt and adjusting seasoning to taste. Shape into about 1/3 inch thick patties.
In a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat, brown dinner cakes on each side. Serve with mole, pipián, or salsa.
My Aunt Bertie has shaped and browned lots of these little things with me. Here she is taking a break from flipping during a cooking class my family taught. We love to cook together!
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*Bean Tree Farm supplies local desert foods and education to the community. *