Friday, 23 August 2013

Recipe: Nova Scotia Hodge Podge

our 3rd place winner: peggy doyle 

We are posting our recipe winners out of order, because this recipe is one that should really be made right now... while the beans and peas are still in season and the potatoes can be found on the smaller side.

We love Peggy Doyle's recipe for its definite cheekiness, personality and attitude! This is a recipe filled with character! We love its language and the tone of its advice and comments... the way this recipe is written. We love its cultural background... its regional character and biases. And we love its educational angle... it has the potential to teach something to our market goers about the maritimes (and goodness knows there are a lot of displaced maritimers living here in Edmonton! Lol), adding another layer of richness and complexity to the market community that we are working so hard to build.

photo from

Hodge Podge is the best of traditional, home cooking: heavy dutch ovens, cream and the nuts and bolts of a farmers' market: potatoes, carrots, beans and peas. It is more like a soup than a stew. Using the freshest of vegetables selected at the market, and not allowing them to overcook is the secret to this being a health-filled recipe, despite its use of cream and butter. Notice that the lack of flour to thicken this recipe means that it is gluten free!

Many a maritimer would insist that this is a perfect summer recipe, best made when the beans just start appearing at the farmers' market and the potatoes are new and tiny and can be added to the recipe whole, or simply cut in half. But as long as the beans are in season... and at our market that means into the fall (with T.R. Greenhouses' green broad beans)... the recipe can be adapted & it can still be made! It is a celebration of fresh vegetables, and a winning combination of great taste, age-old tradition and wonderful comfort food.

Veggies for this recipe can be found at the booths of any one of three vegetables vendors: Dargatz Family Farm, Riverbend Gardens and the Holden Colony. And don't forget that Peter's Lakeview Farm also has beans... they're not just about saskatoons. Delicious bread for sopping up its juices can be found at Prairie Mill Bakery, or if you'd prefer something gluten free, at Celebrate, Gluten Free. Perfectly in season as fall approaches, now is the time to explore a well loved Canadian maritime tradition... Dig in and enjoy!

nova scotia hodge podge 
- a traditional recipe 

Peggy writes, Simple. Fresh. Delicious. No hiding behind fancy schmancy ingredients, or over seasoning. Just a little salt and pepper to round things out. If you’re looking for a recipe that is brimming with complex flavours and seasonings, this isn’t it. Hodge podge is all about the vegetables. We like to let ‘em shine.

Once you’re done eating the veggies, I think most Maritimers would tell you to sop up the extra broth up with some hearty bread. I’m also betting that most would like me to mention that hodge podge is just as good – if not better – on the second day. And that it tastes mighty fine alongside a juicy steak.

Makes enough for 4-6 people.

10-12 new potatoes – scrubbed/not peeled, and halved – quarter any large potatoes, and don’t cut the small ones – you want the potato pieces to be about the same size
2-3 cups chopped new carrots – scrubbed/not peeled, cut into bite sized pieces (you can peel them if you like)
1 cup chopped yellow beans – 1 inch long pieces
1 cup chopped green beans – 1 inch long pieces
1 cup shelled pod peas – you want just the peas, not the pods
1 cup blend – you want something around the 10% fat mark (FYI – some people
use a higher fat cream, and up to 1.5 cups of it)
1/4 – 1/2 cup butter (I use 6 tablespoons)
salt and pepper to taste
Note: the cooking times listed below are what I use. Generally, you want the veggies – especially the beans – to be tender crisp. Some people like their veggies softer, and will cook longer – thus the frequent use of the word “about.”
  1. Fill a Dutch oven about halfway with water, and salt lightly (about 1/2 teaspoon of salt). Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the potatoes to the boiling water. Cook for about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots to the pot, and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.
  4. Next add the yellow and green beans to the pot, and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.
  5. Finally, add the peas, and continue cooking for about 3 minutes.
  6. Drain off most of the water – leave about an inch of water (no more) in the bottom of the pot with the vegetables. Return the pot to the stove, and reduce burner heat to low. Add the blend and butter, and some salt and pepper (I start with a 1/4 teaspoon of each). 
  7. Gently stir to combine, allowing the the blend and butter to heat through. As you’re stirring, the potatoes might break up a bit. Not to worry. As the the blend and butter heat through, the broth may begin to thicken. This is normal. Don’t allow the mixture to boil. 
  8. Once the mixture has heated through, it is ready to serve. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bread to sop up the extra broth.
Store any unused portions in the refrigerator, and re-heat before serving. 

Recipe from Peggy Doyle, 3rd Placed Winner in our Annual Recipe Contest
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Intro by Sheri Hendsbee (in maritimer speak, a true CFA... Come From Away)

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