History, Personal and Other

I Made Medieval Pottage!*

*Okay, so, not really. It contains potato, which was only brought to Britain in the 1580s. But pottage was still being eaten by that point, so I’m sure somebody made something similar, at some point?

I did it because I wanted to cheat. See, traditional pottage (so-called because it was cooked in a pot) was an important meal in the Medieval household: it would sit in the pot over the fire, with the family taking portions and adding more ingredients as they needed. Most likely, the pot was never truly empty. The vegetables added would soften and, especially with the addition of grains and oatmeal (which we know they added), create a thick sauce.

But doing that would take days, and I didn’t have days. But luckily, I had potatoes. The starch in them means you can get a thick sauce much faster.

(I’m also using coriander to flavour mine. Medieval pottage-makers wouldn’t have been able to do this, unless they were making it for nobility. Peasant pottage would have been much more herb-based.)

Step one: Add a big knob of butter to your pan and fry some onions and garlic.

Step two: Add peas, coriander, and a bit of turmeric. (Using professional measurements, here.)

Step three: Add a whole load (at least 5) chopped potatoes, stir, and cook on a low heat for 6-8 minutes. Be careful that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. While that cooks, make yourself a stock. (I made 400ml of vegetable stock.)

Step four: Let it boil for 20-30 minutes, or as long as it takes for the stock to thicken and for your potatoes to soften.

Step five: At this point, you’re getting pretty close to pottage, and you could eat it like this no problem – just don’t forget to add salt and pepper. But I wanted it thicker, so I stirred it, breaking the potato down further.

And this was what I ended up with. I might have overdone it, but, hey, it was still delicious.

4 thoughts on “I Made Medieval Pottage!*”

  1. It is incredible that Europeans existed without potatoes or tomatoes until the 16th century! Your pottage (potage) looks great! It would be lovely eaten with crusty bread – almost like a dip. Bon appétit!

    Liked by 2 people

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