Pottages - Survival of Medieval Peasants
Friday, June 19, 2020
I have been cooking medieval pottage.
This is throwing everything into a pot and slow cooking - many vegatables, a bit of fruit and spices for flavor. General it is what could be found - doesn’t that sound familar now?
I embraced my inner medieval peasant survivor. I’m tired of the daily cooking, so throwing into a pot and being able to dish up when hungry is appealing. Seems meat is now getting harder to come by not only because of limited trips to the store but also due to sickness in packing lines.
Serfs had it hard. They also had a hard time with meat distribution during plague, and often relied on storage vegatable pottage meals.
Two - true to the day - pottages I tried that I loved:
1) beets, turnips, carrots, leeks, onions, garlic, peas (lots) and spices (sumac, cardomon, sweet pepper, fig) served on rye trenchers.
2) Then my second pottage - sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, celery, spinach, pear, garlic, chive, rosemary, mustard and currants, apple cider, slow roasted for 2 hours. Served with pot cheese and brown rice.
They don’t look beautiful but these have been some of my best meals recently.
A) 3/4 pot of vegatables chopped no bigger than tip of thumb lenght Anything goes. I generally avoid tomato as it over powers the subtle sweetness
B) 1/4 pot fruit (dried fruits work well) figs, dates, pomagrate, apple, pear, apricot, rhubarb, plums, prunes, orange zest, currants, raisin, or more modern mango or pineapple
C) Spice it up - mustard, paprika, cardomon, pepper, clove, all spice, sumas, grains of paradise, chives, leeks, parsley, thyme, spinach, danelion greens, garlic, almonds, sweet peppers, ale, wine, taragon vinegar
D) Show your inner serf - by adding what you can - some meat bones, a few leftovers, a handful of lentils or peas, grains like whole oats, and the standby easy stretcher onions (offset this with plenty of parsley family to reduce gas)
Serve over brown rice or whole grain bread.
Easy peasant pot cheese. 1 carton of plain yogurt. Take off top and rubber band two coffee filters over the opening. Invert over a bowl with wooden spoon or chopsticks to drain. Add the drained whey liquid into your pottage and by the time your pottage is cooked you will also have a hunk of fresh soft cheese with your peasant supper.
We wouldn’t be here if our savvy serf relatives hadn’t discovered full nutrition pottage to get them the “dark ages”. Hope you can share in my rediscovery of their wisdom.