New Vegetable Hodge Podge
This very traditional Maritime recipe was perfected by Haligonian food writer Marie Nightingale. It is reminiscent of the early spring time stew from Quebec known as Boulli…a one-pot meal which has meat added. Hodge Podge, on the other hand, relies solely on the freshest vegetables and lashings of butter and cream. The ingredient list is altered by every cook depending upon what is in her/his garden.
In her classic book, Out of Old Nova Scotia Gardens Marie describes Hodge Podge:
“It’s a traditional way to welcome the harvest from Nova Scotia gardens. Farms dig up tiny new potatoes and sell them as “hodge podge potatoes” Finger-length carrots are pulled and scrubbed to accompany the first pickings of peas and beans into the pot. Snow peas are a new, delicious, and crunchy addition. Tiny beets, cauliflower, and broccoli florets can be cooked separately and added to the pot just before serving. (….) Tender young vegetables don’t need peeling; just give them a quick scrub under running water. If the vegetables are a little too large to leave whole, simply cut them in half before cooking. (…) Start with the vegetables which take the longest to cook…Ten minutes total cooking time is usually sufficient for new Spring vegetables. Drain only if a lot of liquid remains, but it’s best to keep any water-leached nutrients in the pot.”
- 2 cups (500 mL) tiny new potatoes
- 2 cups (500 mL) new baby carrots
- 2 cups (500 mL) green beans, rinsed and trimmed
- 2 cups (500 mL) yellow beans, rinsed and trimmed
- 2 cups (500 mL) snow peas, rinsed and trimmed
- 2 cups (500 mL) shelled peas
- 2 – 3 green onions, chopped or 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cups (500 mL) cream or milk
- 2 tbsps (30 mL) butter
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsps (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley, as garnish
Place the potatoes in a large pot with about 1 “ (2./5 cm) boiling water. Cover and boil gently for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the carrots. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes and then add the green and yellow beans. Leave the cover off (so that the green beans will retain their bright colour. Cook 2 minutes more.
Add the snow peas, shelled peas and green onions; cook gently until all the vegetables are tender.
Drain only if necessary. Add the cream and butter; season to taste with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Makes 6 – 8 servings.
Recipe from Anita Stewart’s Canada: The Food, The Recipes, The Stories (Harper Collins Canada 2008/2014)
Photography by Robert Wigington.