The cuccìa is a typical dish of the village of Castelmezzano (Potenza) handed down from ancient times, nicknamed also as a pot of the poor, has as main ingredient wheat, beans, chickpeas and cicerchie. Tradition sees it tied to the celebration of Saint Lucia. According to a legend, once there was a tremendous famine that was decimating the population. On the day devoted to the Holy One in a year and in an place unspecified, a great load of wheat came to the population. Hunger was so great that the people, instead of grinding the ingredient to make bread, began to boil and eat it. It would seem that the name comes from the chef's cry when the dish was ready: "cucìa, cucìa", is cooked.
Another hypothesis about the nature of this dish comes from the Greek word "Ko (u) kkìa", ie wheat.
During Saint Lucia's day, the cuccìa is blessed and, at the end of the mess, is distributed among the faithful in goodwill. In the same period in Castelmezzano is celebrated the Festival of the Ciùc during which you can enjoy this typical dish. If you visit Castelmezzano you can taste the cuccìa at the Agriturismo La Grotta dell'Eremita.
Preparation is really simple.
We cook legumes and cereals separately, on a slow fire, after having them bathed in the previous evening to soften them and after rinsing them. Once cooked we mix them together and season with garlic, hot oil and pepper. The dish is served hot in a rather large terracotta bowl.