What is Hodge Podge? Other than a delicious well kept Maritime Secret handed down from generation to generaton?
Hodge Podge is a mix of early summer garden pickings.. Invented most likely by a Mother, who lived before the age of microwaves and freezer meals, needing something quick to make to feed her family after a long hot day in the garden weeding.
I’m sure she gathered what she could in her apron on her way up to the house.. rolling it into the sink to wash after kicking her dirty shoes by the door. I can see her now.. washing the potatoes.. and her hands. Scrubbing the carrots with one hand as she reaches for her favorite stew pot with the other… interrupted only by tiny little hands that pull at her apron, looking for a carrot or bean to snack on while they wait for supper to finish. She would have snapped those carrots and beans with her hands throwing some in her pot.. and a few to the hungry little hands waiting.. in what would have looked like a beautiful magical dance around the kitchen in her big skirts, from the table to the sink and back again.
It’s the kind of dish you can throw in the pot, and bring to a boil, meanwhile attending the bread dough left to rise in the oven.. It gives you just about enough time to sip on your iced coffee while the bread bakes, and the veggies cook.
Everyone around here seems to have a different recipe.. each one a family favorite handed down.. most likely from an Acadian ancestor. By definition Hodge Podge is of Old french, for a kind of stew usually made with meat and vegetables.
For us in Nova Scotia.. it is the newest vegetables from the garden.. not something you can eat in the fall.. only for a very short time in the early summer.. when the farm markets are starting to fill their shelves with the fresh harvest. It’s something our family waits all year for.. unless you’re our Cousin Cindy.. who was the only one in the family smart enough to put some away in her freezer last so she could tease us about how wonderful it was to be eating it in the middle of winter.
what’s in your Hodge Podge? Care to put it up against mine?
We were talking which one of us had the best Hodge Podge at the Hantsport Pop-up Market last weekend.. since everyone loves their own recipe, we decided to have a Hodge Podge Cook Off.. Think you have the best? Why not bring it to the Hantsport Fire Hall, July 23rd for Nova Scotia’s First Hodge Podge Cookoff.. Winner receives province wide bragging rights for having Nova Scotia’s best Hodge Podge. Contact HodgePodgeCookOff@gmail.com for more info
(and if no one else enters.. that means I win by default 😉
- 1 cup carrots, cut in large bite size pieces
- 1 cup beans, cut
- 1 cup peas, cut
- 4-6 new potatoes, peelings left on and cut into quarters or half
- 2-4 garlic scapes
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- a bit of dulse
- 2 sprigs of fresh dillweed
- 1 stem of sage flowers
- 1 sprig of thyme
- Place potatoes & carrots in a large pot
- Cover with water & bring to a boil
- Reduce heat,
- Simmer until almost soft (do not over cook).. your knife will poke through.. but give a little resistance
- add beans, peas & garlic scapes.. simmer for 5 minutes
- Drain pot, leaving 1/4 of the water in with veggies.
- Add butter letting it melt before adding milk
- Add herbs & dulse
- Bring to a boil.. do not stir often.. once & a while, yes.. but too much will mush up your veggies.
- Remove from heat and serve with fresh homemade bread or rolls
- Everyone has their own recipe.. This one is mine.. It's not a Hodge Podge unless you make it your very own.. some omit the herbs.. while others add a ham bone.. some like a lot of heavy cream.. others with more water than milk.. I have yet to taste two Hodge Podges the same.. even my own.
If you are looking for Hodge Podge Ingredients.. and don’t have your own garden to dig from.. visit your local Farmer’s Market.. It’s Hodge Podge Season!!