Pashofa is a traditional dish that consists of cracked corn (hominy) and pork, covered in water and boiled for several hours. Chickasaws have enjoyed pashofa for centuries. Traditionally, cooking pashofa required many hours of close attention. Women came together to prepare enough to feed an entire village. This required several pounds of cracked corn. When time came to prepare pashofa, corn pounders were used to crack hominy kernels. Next, the corn was poured into boiling water in a pashofa pot. Pork was added and the mixture continued to cook until it was soft and soupy. This process could take a good portion of the day, depending on how much pashofa was prepared.

One of the most important steps in cooking pashofa is to stir the pot regularly. This ensures the corn would not stick to the bottom of the large iron pots. Pashofa paddles were designed specifically for this purpose. They were carved with long handles, broadened at one end like a spoon, but flat with a straight edge for scraping. The strong heartwoods of hickory, bois d’arc and oak trees were used. Because they were made so well, these paddles lasted several generations, handed down as a cherished treasure from one family to the next. The handles wore smooth after many years of use, a legacy of the loving, hardworking hands of Chickasaw ancestors. Pashofa was, and still is, served at large gatherings of Chickasaws, for celebrations and ceremonies.

Next to the corn pounder, the pashofa pot was a necessary item in Chickasaw households. Before European trade, Chickasaw women crafted large clay vessels for cooking pashofa. The process of making these pots took much labor and many hours of preparing the clay, building and fashioning the pot by hand and waiting for the clay to dry before firing. Though the pots were well-made and served many people, the metal kettle began appearing as European trade increased. They were virtually indestructible and spared hours of making ceramic pots. Many pashofa pots were handed down among Chickasaw families for generations.

Pashofa Recipe

3 pounds pashofa corn
6 gallons water
6 pounds fresh pork

It is best to cook pashofa outdoors in a large pot. Bring water to a brisk boil over a steady fire; add corn and let the fire burn slowly all around the pot. Stir constantly with a long wooden spoon to keep it from scorching. When corn is about half done (not completely soft), add meat cut in 3-inch chunks. Cook until meat is tender and soup is thick. Add no salt while cooking. Cooking time is about four hours.

Crockpot Pashofa

2 cups pashofa corn
2 pounds pork, cut into 1-inch pieces

Cover corn and pork with water and cook on medium setting until about half done (2-3 hours). Turn to low setting and continue to cook overnight. Salt to taste.