The staple meal for most medieval folk was pottage – a stew made from whatever was available at the time. Everything was cooked together in one large cauldron over the fire. Pottage usually contained a mixture of meat, vegetables, herbs, pulses, and grains. Here is a tasty modern version for you to try!
1lb fully cooked meat or poultry
Good pinch of salt and pepper
2 sticks celery
2 root vegetables (turnip, parsley, or swede)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint chicken or beef stock
1 tablespoon parsley or thyme
1/2 pint red wine
2 tablespoons Worcester Sauce
2oz pearl barley
1. Chop all the meat and vegetables into large chunks.
2. Boil the olive oil in a pot until bubbling, then lower to a medium heat.
3. Add the onions, potatoes, carrots and root vegetables. Brown until slightly softened.
4. Add the celery and leak. Brown until slightly softened.
5. Stir in the cooked, chopped meat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
6. Pour in the beef stock. Bring to the boil stirring well. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
7. Add the red wine and Worcester Sauce. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes. The mixture will reduce.
8. Stir in the pearl barley and add parsley or thyme to taste.
9. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the barley softens and the pottage thickens.
Serve with rice or fresh crusty bread!