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History Cookbook: Vegetable Pottage

This recipe is in categories Main courses, Soups and Sauces, Tudors, Vegetarian
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  • Pottage 2
    Pottage 2
About this recipe
Healthiness : (192 votes)
Difficulty:  2 out of 5 difficulty
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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 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.

For pictures of the cooking process see our Vegetable Pottage Picture Gallery.

With thanks to Cathy Flower-Bond (Tudor Tales) and the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum for their help with making this podcast.

  • 1 onion
  • 2 leeks             
  • 1 or 2 parsnips
  • spinach
  • herbs from the garden (eg parsley, rosemary and thyme)
  • butter
  • stock
  • seasoning (salt and peppercorns)
  • Large cooking pot
  • Knife for peeling and chopping the vegetables
  • Chopping board
  • Wooden spoons for stirring and serving
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  • Peel the onion, roughly slice and chop
  • Top and tail the leeks and parsnip, peel the outer skins and roughly chop
  • Roughly chop some spinach
  • Warm a pot by the fire
  • Add some butter (enough to soften the onions) and add the onions to the pot
  • Allow to soften for a few minutes, then add the chopped leeks and parsnips
  • Allow the vegetables to sweat for a few minutes then cover them with the stock
  • Add the spinach
  • Allow to cook  until the vegetables are ready, then add the garden herbs
  • Leave for a few minutes, add the seasoning (salt and peppercorns), then remove the pot from the hearth and serve
Vegetable Pottage - print view  Vegetable Pottage - print view

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There are 25 comments for this recipe.
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Name: Grace 21st March 2017
Hello everyone. I have a suggestion to make to the recipie. It would make the pottage more enjoyable by adding a few more vegetables like carrots, cauiliflour and garden peas. At my schools medieval banquet we added these and it was good. We also had homemade brown bread rolls too. This makes the meal thoroughly more enjoyable 😊
Name: Kerryanne 16th November 2016
really easy it helped me with my tudor topic at school
Name: John 13th November 2016
Very helpful videos on Tudor recipes.
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