Quite a Hodge Podge

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Another northern dish with a funny name, this quick stew of midsummer veggies has long been a favorite when we need to sample the new produce, but don’t want to stand over the stove too long!

Robbing a few new potatoes from the hills is a tradition around here. Pulling sweet baby carrots is also not to be resisted! Combine these little thefts with new green beans and whatever strikes your fancy and you end up with a simple but deliciously satisfying summer dish.

Out of the kitchen fast

This is meant to be quick to cook with little fuss. With temperatures in the high 90s this week, and very humid, whatever gets me out of the kitchen fast is for me. Also, we got a new puppy a few days ago, and my attention is a bit distracted…

While Hodge Podge (also, hotch potch) appears to have its beginnings in Scotland or England using mutton, it originated as a vegetable-based soup in Nova Scotia and many versions of this delightful summer dish have drifted through the northeast. There’s no sweating of aromatics, no fussy prep, just a bunch of veggies fresh from the garden boiled together to make a delightful medley of the season.

We can’t wait for the harvest!

Traditionally, the dish includes new potatoes and tender, sweet baby carrots (not the machined offerings in the grocery store), shelling peas and the first of the green and wax beans, new onions and their greens, all simmered quickly in a butter cream sauce. It is also traditional to put whatever else is nice or bountiful in your garden (or farm stand) at the time, including the last of the asparagus, probably the last of the sugar snaps, the first of the zucchini and yellow squash, turnips, radishes, and fennel. Herbs could include chives, parsley, dill, tarragon, chives, or chervil, or anything you love.

Hodgepodge – noun, (hoj’-poj) A random mixture; jumble. Also, hodge-podge, hodge podge.

My mother always included Swiss chard because it was always in our garden and the more you pick it, the more you get, so she picked lots! Beet greens, turnip greens, spinach, or any favorite green wouldwork here. I used both Swiss chard and the greens from the golden beets.

Not a boiled dinner, call it a quickly simmered one

Unlike a winter New England boiled dinner, this dish cooks quickly, just until everything is tender, but still vibrant, the broth sweet and light. It is served just slightly warm, or even room temperature.

My update to this vegetarian dish is to make it vegan as well by substituting coconut milk for the heavy cream, lightening it considerably. I also boiled the shells of the peas to give the dish a flavor boost in the form of a pea stock, very flavorful and quick too. Not necessary, but I hate composting flavor.

Lots to choose from this week at the farms and markets, so my dish includes new potatoes, new carrots, a leek, sweet onion, asparagus, sweet golden beets and their greens, Swiss chard, English peas, and new green beans, no wax beans yet. Don’t bother peeling the carrots, potatoes, or beets, the new veggies don’t need it, and you’ll save time and nutrition. Note that red beets will turn everything in the pot red, so keep this in mind if you don’t like that!

While mom would toss everything in the pot and just let it simmer until done, I prefer to add the veggies in stages so the beans and peas don’t overcook, keep their color, and nutrition.

Parsley and tarragon from the garden livened things up. Quite a Hodge Podge!

Hodge Podge

  • 1 ½ lb. shelling peas
  • 6 cups water (more or less)
  • 1 ½ lbs. new potatoes, halved or whole
  • 1 lb. carrots, roughly chopped or thick sliced
  • 1 large onion, cut in wedges
  • 1 leek (or additional onion), diced
  • 3 golden or Chioggia beets, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ to ¾ lb. green beans, trimmed, whole
  • 1 lb. summer squash or zucchini, diced
  • Large bunch of Swiss chard, stems included 
  • Beets tops if available
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk, full fat or light
  • 2 tbsp. fresh herbs of choice, chopped

            Prep the vegetables by first scrubbing them. You do not need to peel.

Shell the peas and place the pods in a pot, cover with water, salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer for one-half hour or so. Set the peas aside.

            Cut the potatoes and carrots into desired size. Peel the onion (put peelings in the pot with the pea pods) then cut it into eight wedges, leaving the root end intact. Chop the leek, white and light green part. Cut the greens from the beets and cut the beets into quarters or sixths, depending on size. Crush and roughly dice the garlic. Place all these in a large stock pot, except the beet greens, set those aside.

            Cut the tips off the green beans, and set aside. Dice the summer squash, and set aside. Chop the stems of the Swiss chard and place them in the stock pot. Set the greens aside. 

            Once the pea pods have given up their flavor, strain this liquid into the stock pot and compost the pods. Add water to cover the vegetables, and season with salt and pepper.

            Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, covered. The potatoes and carrots will be just about done.

            Add the green beans and squash and cook for an additional five minutes, uncovered. Green vegetables retain their color much better when cooked in an uncovered pot.

            Add the asparagus and peas and cook for an additional five minutes, uncovered.

            Add the greens and cook just until they wilt, uncovered, but mix them into the rest of the veggies.

            Add the coconut milk and the herbs. Remove from the heat. Taste and correct seasoning.

            Serve warm or room temperature, and garnish with a few more herbs. Yes, you can now add some butter or vegan butter it you like!

New puppy. Under foot in the kitchen, providing lots of distraction, and lots of entertainment (except at 3 a.m.).

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36 Comments Add yours

  1. Averyl says:

    Congrats on your new addition!!!!

    1. Thank you! It is going to be lots of fun with two of them!

  2. Ally Bean says:

    The stew looks delicious and healthy. The puppy looks adorable– and no trouble at all! 😉

    1. The stew was really good, and I do always feel virtuous eating it! The puppy is absolutely no trouble at all, doesn’t bark, sleeps through the night, doesn’t chew on the other dog’s tail or my hair, doesn’t piddle on the floor. I should have called him angel…

      1. Ally Bean says:

        You lucked out with this little guy. Yay!

      2. Already in love!

  3. suzannesmom says:

    That looks fantastic! (PS. I am ALWAYS fighting WordPress. The newish editing template drives me crazy!)

    1. Thank you Suzanne. I’m glad you could post, my husband still cannot. It’s frustrating, and the Happiness Engineer yesterday did not live up to hers/his title.

  4. What a delightful vegetable stew!

    1. Thank you Jenna! It makes a lot too, so more than one meal.

  5. That looks amazing! I love beet greens. Your new pup is precious! 💞

    1. Thank you Anne Marie! We are all getting used to each other!

  6. Carol Taylor says:

    Adorable puppy, delicious Hodge Podge…i feel your pain with WP mine has been going on for months some posts I can like others not…When I comment I have to sign in every time or not and just fill in my details it is not consistent and intermittent…grrr

    1. It just doesn’t seem to be working right since they made their “major upgrade” and forced us all to use the clunky block editor. There have been so many times I’ve written a comment on a nice article, and it won’t let me post at all! Very frustrating. This is supposed to be fun and social, not frustrating!

  7. Thought I’d try commenting again. This would be an excellent meal or side dish!

    1. Thank you Diane! And thank you for trying this again. It seems to be working…..for now!!!!!

  8. What a nice vegetable dish. The Dutch “hutspot” is a winter dish of boiled carrots, onions, and potatoes.

    1. Yes, it is probably all of the same origins! Good, comfort food at its best no matter what its origins.

  9. nancyc says:

    What a great summer dish–it looks so good! That puppy is super-cute too! 🙂

    1. Thank you Nancy! The puppy is certainly keeping us on our toes!

  10. Gail says:

    I’m a romantic. Your photo reminded me of a film, starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood, where she made him dinner from her garden vegetables. 🌿🍆🫑

    1. You are a romantic! Me too, and it was a really good movie!

      1. Gail says:

        How did I know that?! 😜

  11. Carolyn Page says:

    Yum! My kind of meal, Dorothy.
    And wow! What an adorable little pooch. What a cutie.
    xoxoxo

    1. Thank you! He is adorable, and quite a handful!

  12. Dorothy this looks so yummy…my kind of dish. I can just imagine how this would taste with lots of summer fresh ingredients. Not to mention your puppy is stealing the show!! What a cutie.

    1. Thank you, and yes, the puppy is stealing the show, constantly! But is a sweet and cuddly thing when he is not trying to sever my fingers with his razor puppy teeth!

  13. A funny name for a super delicious meal! I bet everything tastes differently using freshly picked ingredients 😋😋
    What a cute puppy 🐶💕💕

    1. It is yet another funny New England name for an old standby! But it is the flavor of the season! Thanks, we kinda think he’s cute too!

      1. Kinda? 😍☺️🐶💕

  14. Delicious looking veggie dish! AOC is too encountering wp issues.☹️

    1. Thank you! We enjoy it so much at this time of year.

  15. The hodge podge has to be delicious with all those fresh from the garden vegetables. My kind of meal.

    1. It’s so easy this time of year!

  16. sunisanthosh says:

    Delicious Hodege Podge.
    That puppy looks cute 😍

    1. He’s a sweetie!

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