Today, we had fun making okchash (Choctaw acorn stew). This is a dish that dates back thousands of years. For about a year, we've been patiently leaching some red acorns we had gathered on our land in order to remove all of the bitter tannic acid. That finally accomplished, we cooked the leached, pounded acorns in the style of pot that Choctaw ancestors made 3,500 years ago. This type of pottery is made from clay mixed with Spanish moss. When the pot was fired, the Spanish moss burned out, leaving tiny air pockets inside its walls. These insulate the vessel, making a pot ideal for cooking from the inside out, using the stone boiling technique.
For stone boiling, you set the pot next to the fire and fill it with stew. Then, you heat up some small, round rocks in the fire. When the rocks get red hot, you remove them from the coals with some rivercane tongs and carefully stir them into the stew. This is a very efficient method of transferring heat. The stew will soon start to boil.
This dish is kind of like gruel, sustaining and a little bland. Traditionally, it was often eaten with chunks of roasted deer meat mixed in. This dish contains a complete protein, a number of vitamins; it has a low glycemic index and is gluten free.
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Into Thin Air
October 16, 2019
Choctaw Food: Remembering the Land, Rekindling Ancient Knowledge