Vegan medieval potage stew is based on the British meal that was popular throughout the middle ages.
There are many variations of potage stew and my plant-based version contains root vegetables, onions, garlic, butter beans, barley, oatmeal and red lentils. Flavoured with vegetable extract (marmite) fresh herbs, dried herbs, veggie stock and vegan gravy to bring this medieval dish into the 21st century flavour palate!
I know some of these ingredients would not have been available during the medieval ages but as with all good recipes that stand-the-test-of-time they do so by being versatile and easily adaptable.
Besides my daughter is a complete medieval enthusiast and helped to develop this recipe from all the knowledge she has gained researching. I might also have used some of her history props for the photos!
What is Medieval Potage Stew?
The food cooked in the pot would have been akin to a stew, soup or porridge, or something in between. Potage tends to lean over towards the thicker spectrum of stews.
Medieval potage stew has been around since at least the 14th Century, originating in France and being adopted by the British.
Medieval peasants did not have meat as an everyday staple instead relying on vegetables and grains, such as barley.
Peasants would have been unlikely to have afforded to add meat to their potage and would have chucked in any edible greenery and vegetables they could afford, grow, trade or forage around their local environment.
Albeit, when meat was available it would have been included along with the vegetables, grains and herbs.
The potage would have been cooked in a cast-iron cauldron pot over an open fire/fireplace. With a large wooden spoon used to stir the potage.
Thick slabs of bread were often used as plates and the potage ladled directly onto the hard bread. The bread was rarely eaten but was often donated to peasants or beggars.
Popular film culture has embraced the potage meal. Whenever there is a dinner scene during a medieval or historical movie that involves feeding peasants its generally a potage type meal that is generally served up!
There is an episode of AMC’s Into the Badlands series (Season 2 episode 1) where the mine prisoners are fed what looked strikingly similar to my potage stew recipe! My daughter got quite excited when she saw the potage slopped onto the dinner plates!
So if you have a family member who is a medieval, knights, King Arthur, Robin Hood, Lord of the Rings, or living history fan and enthusiast, then this recipe is ideal and so much fun!
Especially served in wooden bowls or platters.
A great idea for Halloween parties or gatherings is to serve this potage in a hollowed out pumpkin or little individual pumpkins. Kids will love preparing this potage and mixing the cauldron saucepan!
How to Prepare Vegan Medieval Potage Stew
The beauty of potage is that it can be as simple or as inventive as you desire. No two potages will be the same so each time you prepare it, it will be like an evolving creation which will just get tastier as you practice. My daughter loves the medieval ages so she is the potage creator in the family.
Any size cooking pot/pan can be used depending on what you have and how many you are cooking for. Also, it is up to you how much vegetables, grains and legumes you’d like to add. There is absolutely no wrong way of making potage.
Everything and anything edible can get bunged in. Even local edible weeds such as dandelion or nettle.
To make your potage even more economical use reduced vegetable bargains from your local supermarket. As well as look out for vegetables in season as they tend to be less expensive.
How To Prepare Medieval Inspired Potage Stew:
Vegan Medieval Potage Stew
- Large saucepan/ stockpot/ soup pan
- 1 Kg casserole vegetables 9 cups. / 35 oz. Most supermarkets in the UK sell 1 kg frozen bags of stew or casserole vegetable bags. Or use a vegetable stew pack from the fresh produce section. Or chop up into bitesize chunks 1 Kg of loose root vegetables.
- 100 grams pearl barley 1/2 cup.
- 90 grams red split lentils 1/2 cup.
- 1 can butter beans 400g/ 14 oz can, drained.
- 3 tablespoons pinhead oatmeal Alternatively use rolled oats.
- 75 gram kale about 2 packed cups
- 3 tablespoons vegan gravy powder
- 2 bay leaf's Plus any fresh herbs you have to hand. Such as a few sprigs of fresh thyme, a small bunch of chopped parsley, a few sage leaves, a sprig of rosemary, etc.
- 1 tablespoon mixed herbs
- 1 teaspoon vegetable extract or marmite/vegemite
- 1625 ml vegetable stock 6 1/2 cups/ 3.4 pints / 1.7 quarts. Use 2 vegan stock cubes or equivalent of stock powder/paste.
- Add all the ingredients to your saucepan, except the kale, oatmeal and gravy powder.
- Pour in the vegetable stock.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
- Add the gravy powder, oatmeal and kale.
- Simmer for 5-10 minutes.If the stew starts to stick to your saucepan add an extra half cup of stock to loosen the sauce.Or place a lid on your pan, remove the pan from the hotplate, and leave the saucepan to sit for 10 minutes to finish cooking in the residual heat.
- Potage stew will be much thicker than normal stew but if preferred add extra veggie stock to loosen up the gravy.
- Remove the bay leaf's and any herb stalks such as from fresh thyme.Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.
- In the UK a one cup measurement is the equivalent of 250ml of liquid and 1/2 a cup is 125ml.
- Potage stew can be kept fresh in the fridge, in a covered container, for up to 3 days.
- Reheat in a saucepan, simmering until piping hot throughout. Add a cup or two of extra stock to loosen up the stew as it will have gotten very thick.
- Freeze portions of stew for speedy future meals.