Pote de Castañes
a pre-Columbian Exchange recipe for a pote made with chestnuts instead of potatoes.
Prior to the introduction of the potato from the Americas, the chestnut was the staple food of a good bit of the Asturian peasantry. The number and variety of uses of this humble nut are pretty amazing when you look into the peasant food of Asturias. A whole vocabulary arose to describe the many uses of chestnuts, and the techniques for drying, boiling, roasting, peeling, and storing them.
The ones that featured in Pote were dried in a specific way. They were piled up, still in their burrs for several weeks to cause a small fermentation. Then the burrs were removed with a wooden or iron dibble before being bagged up and hung in the hórreo to finish drying.
This recipe makes use of a slow cooker. If you begin this recipe in the morning on high, it will be ready for lunch. On low, it will be ready for dinner. The nice thing about slow cooker recipes for soups like this is that they better approximate the reality of a housewife puttering around the smoky kitchen watching the pot out of the corner of her eye.
- Peel and wash your chestnuts.
- Throw everything in your slow cooker and salt liberally.
- Choose high or low temperature on your slow cooker based on what meal you want the pote to be ready for.
- López, Pascual Pastor y. Memoria geognóstico-agrícola sobre la provincia de Asturias. Auseva, 1853.
- Méndez Riestra, Eduardo. Diccionario de cocina y gastronomía de Asturias. pp 154. 1st ed., Trea, 2017.