Recipe A Day #24: Spicy Mote and Chicken Stew

Since the other day's Black Bean and Giant White Corn Posole recipe was such a hit, I've been trying to think up other ways to work giant white corn into a recipe. Today I bring you exactly that: a spectacularly delicious and interesting soup that's both easy and inexpensive. In fact, you can put this recipe together for a laughably cheap 60c per serving. Enjoy!

Spicy Mote and Chicken Stew

1 14-16 ounce package of giant white corn/mote pelado
Water for soaking
About 10 cups water for the soup

5 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped coarsely
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
About 1 pound boneless chicken thighs, chopped into cubes
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 chicken bouillon cubes
salt/black pepper to taste

1) Soak the mote/giant white corn overnight in a large soup pot with plenty of water. Drain, then add 10 cups new water to the pot and boil for about 90 minutes, until corn is soft to the bite and the kernels are just beginning to "pop." (Note: cooking time may vary here, anywhere from a little over an hour to as much as two hours. Just test the corn occasionally and look for the kernels to begin breaking open).

2) Meanwhile, in a separate saute pan, saute onions in oil for a couple of minutes on high heat. Add spices, chicken and garlic, reduce heat to medium high, and saute until chicken is nearly cooked, about 5-8 minutes. Then, add diced tomatoes and bouillon cubes, simmer for another 5 minutes or so.

3) Add onions, garlic, chicken and tomato mixture to the soup pot, bring to a boil, and then simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Serve with rice or brown rice.

Serves 10.
Recipe Notes:
1) On finding Mote/Giant White Corn: Many well-stocked grocery stores will carry dried mote in the "Latin foods" aisle. Goya is a typical brand. Or, you may find it it next to the dried beans and lentils. If not, then this recipe gives you an excellent excuse to visit a local ethnic grocer in your community.

2) An obvious way to make this recipe easier and less time consuming would be to use canned hominy/giant white corn in place of dried (note that our Black Bean and Giant White Corn Posole does just that). To get the conversion about right, I'd use four 15 ounce cans of canned white corn to equate to a 14-ounce to 16-ounce bag of dried giant white corn. Simply drain the canned hominy/giant white corn, put it into a pot of about 10 cups water, bring to a boil, add the other ingredients, and then simmer for 20-25 minutes to let the spices and flavors combine well.

3) Here's a rundown of the cost:

14 oz Goya Giant white corn/mote pelado 1.89
1 pound boneless chicken thighs 1.99
2 onions 60c
3-4 garlic cloves 15c
Oil/spices ~25c
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes 79c
2 chicken bouillon cubes: ~15c

Total cost: about 5.82, or less than 60c per serving.

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