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Cooking with Sotol

 
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In this thread I will share my experiments in cooking with one of my favorite native plants of Texas, the Sotol, Dasylirion texanum. This is a beautiful and tough plant which was one of the main staple carbohydrates of the native folks here.



Today I collected a bunch of them:



The edible part is a bulblike stem at the base:



The native folks would have just buried the whole nasty dirty stem in a pit of coals and let it cook overnight, but I cleaned mine. As with artichokes, you're left with a lot of inedible bits and a tiny nugget of food. I'll probably need to peel these more:



I'm going to put these in the slow cooker tomorrow and then try to figure out a way to make them tasty. Just cooked plain they have a bland plant-like flavor. I'm wondering if some kind of marinade might help.

More about this experiment tomorrow!

 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm slow-cooking these until they seem tender, then I plan to marinate them, like marinated artichoke hearts:

slowsotol.jpg
[Thumbnail for slowsotol.jpg]
 
Tyler Ludens
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I ended up cutting off more of the top of the Sotol hearts, keeping the more tender portion. I think in future I'll cut off all but this part, and cook them less. I made up a basic marinade for artichoke hearts (recipes online), and am now letting the hearts marinate in the fridge for 24 hrs.

Here they are in a pickle jar:
marinate.jpg
[Thumbnail for marinate.jpg]
 
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In the jar they even look like artichokes. I thought you used these for making liquor. The plant looks like yucca, that I have plenty of in my yard. Yucca root can be used like potatoes. Love yucca chips. Are they related?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Sotol is indeed used to make a distilled liquor, like Agave is. Yucca, for instance our native Yucca filamentosa and Yucca rupicola, do not have edible roots - they contain too much saponin to eat, but can be used for soap. The other plant called Yucca or Yuca, which is sometimes in the store, is actually Cassava (tapioca).
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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I learn something new every day. Interesting.
 
Tyler Ludens
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We tried the marinated hearts and my husband said they taste "like dirty pickles." So they get the designation: Yucky.

 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:We tried the marinated hearts and my husband said they taste "like dirty pickles." So they get the designation: Yucky.



The native folks would have just buried the whole nasty dirty stem in a pit of coals and let it cook overnight ...



Hi Tyler,

This is just a wild guess, but I'm wondering if the fire pit method unlocks the tastiness of sotol. I'd take a cue from traditional cooking here and try oven roasting them next time to see if it improves the flavor quality.

Interesting nonetheless.
 
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