Potage (, also , ; ) is a category of
soup Soup is a primarily liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or external force. Fluids are a Phase ...
stew A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been Cooking, cooked in Soup, liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables and may include meat, especially tougher meats sui ...
s, or
porridge Porridge (historically also spelled porage, porrige, or parritch) is a food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''o ...

s, in which
meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization allowed the domestication of animals such as chickens, sheep, rabbits, pigs and cattle. This eventu ...
vegetable Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. The original meaning is still commonly used and is applied to plants collectively to refer to all edible plant matter, including the flowers, fruits, stems ...
grains A grain is a small, hard, dry seed A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. The formation of the seed is part of the process of reproduction Reproduction (or procreation or breeding) is the biological pro ...
fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which angiosperms disseminate seeds. Edible fruits, in particular, have propa ...
, or a combination of those ingredients are boiled together with water,
broth Broth, also known as bouillon [], is a Umami, savory liquid made of water in which bones, meat, or vegetables have been simmering, simmered. It can be eaten alone, but it is most commonly used to prepare other Dish (food), dishes, such as soups, ...

, or other liquids.


Potage has its origins in the medieval cuisine of
northern France
northern France
and increased in popularity from the
High Middle Ages The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the periodization, period of European history that lasted from around AD 1000 to 1250. The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and were followed by the Late Middle Ages, which ...
onward. A course in a medieval feast often began with one or two potages, which would be followed by roasted meats. European
cottage garden The cottage garden is a distinct style that uses informal design, traditional materials, dense plantings, and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants. English in origin, it depends on grace and charm rather than grandeur and formal structure. Hom ...
s often contained a variety of crops grown together. These were called ''potage gardens'' by the French, as the harvest from that garden was used to make potage. The earliest known cookery manuscript in the English language, '' The Forme of Cury'', written by the court
chef An Italian chef preparing a truffle for diners A chef is a trained professional cook and tradesman who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation, often focusing on a particular cuisine A cuisine is a style of cooking characte ...
s of
King Richard II Richard II (6 January 1367 – c. 14 February 1400), also known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Gr ...

King Richard II
in 1390, contains several potage recipes including one made from cabbage, ham, onions and leeks. A slightly later manuscript from the 1430s is called '' Potage Dyvers'' ("Various Potages"). The word "pottage" is used in the earliest English translations of
the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an ...
, in relation to the lentil soup for which Esau trades his birthright in ; from this story, the phrase "mess of pottage" means something attractive but of little value being exchanged for something much more important. During the Tudor period, a good many English peasants' diets consisted almost solely of potage. Some Tudor-era people ate self-cultivated vegetables like cabbages and carrots and a few were able to supplement this from fruit gardens with fruit trees nearby. Some potages that were typical of medieval cuisine were frumenty, aspic, jelly (flesh or fish in aspic), mawmenny (a thickened stew of capon or similar fowl), and pears in syrup. There were also many kinds of potages made of thickened liquids (such as milk and almond milk) with mashed flowers or mashed or strained
fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which angiosperms disseminate seeds. Edible fruits, in particular, have propa ...
. According to Catalan cuisine, Catalonian religious customs, if a ''festa doble'' (a "double feast" in the church) fell on a Fasting and abstinence in the Catholic Church, meat day two consecutive ''potatge'' courses were served, one of which would be a cheese-topped rice or noodle dish, the other a meat stew ( ca, guisat) cooked in "''salsa (sauce), salsa''" made from wine, vinegar, parsley, spleen, liver, saffron, egg yolks and assorted spices. Two ''potaje'' courses were also served for fish days, first high-quality spinach from the monastery gardens topped with peppers, or cabbage or lettuce (if spinach could not be found), followed by either a bowl of semolina or noodles or rice cooked in almond milk, or a grain bowl of semolina groat (grain), groats seasoned with cinnamon.

Notes and references

Informational notes


See also

* Brown Windsor soup * List of soups * Pottage * Medieval cuisine * Frumenty * Sop

External links

Potage à la Reine, a Dutch variation of potage

How to Make Potage With Cooked Rice

Paris' real passion is in the potage
{{Soups Medieval cuisine Soups