Vegetable Pottage from Tudor England

Vegetable Pottage

What Catherine might eat on a rainy day in The Altarpiece

About this recipe:
Difficulty: 1
Comments: This recipe is fairly easy. It requires some peeling and chopping.

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: approx 30 mins
Number of servings: 4 portions
Serving suggestions: Serve with crusty bread
This is a vegetarian recipe

People ate a lot of pottage throughout the ages, since they had first made cooking pots that would withstand heat. In Tudor times, it was still the main part of an ordinary person’s diet. It is basically a vegetable soup, flavoured with herbs and thickened with oats.

The ordinary people would not have been able to afford much meat, so would rely on this soup as their staple diet with bread and sometimes cheese. Occasionally meat bones or fish would be added when available.
The pottage would have been made with whatever vegetables were in season. However, dried vegetables such as peas and beans were often served in Lent, by which time the winter food stocks were very low. This helped people survive until early spring produce (nettle tips, ground elder and spring greens) began to grow.

In the past, it was considered that the thicker the soup, the better the quality of the pottage.
Ingredients
• 3 turnips
• 2 carrots
• 1 parsnip (About 1lb of vegetables in total)
• A knob of butter (1oz)
• 2oz oats
• Heaped tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
• 1 pint/16 floz or 570ml of vegetable stock (you could use a meat stock if preferred)
You can vary the vegetables adding whatever you like and what is in season. Garden herbs and greens were added when they were available.

Making and cooking it
1. Prepare the vegetables
2. Put them in the saucepan with the butter and lightly fry to soften
3. Add the chopped parsley and oats
4. Add the stock
5. Cover and cook slowly on a low heat for 20-30 minutes, stiring from time to time
6. Once the oats have thickened the sauce and the vegetables are softened, the pottage is ready

With thanks to CookIt recipes

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