Pottage was a staple food of the medieval period. A bit like a soupy stew, it could be made with a variety of different ingredients starting at a basic broth containing garden vegetables and herbs up to an extravagant mix of meat stock, vegetables, bits of meat and expensive imported spices.

For much of the population of rural medieval Scotland, pottage would have been made with the readily available ingredients in your house, garden and nearby fields. Below is a list of a few foods that are likely to have been available in rural gardens and fields in Scotland during the medieval period. Scroll further down for a recipe for pottage made from these common medieval ingredients!

  • Cabbage
  • Leeks
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Peas
  • Turnips
  • Beans*
  • Barley
  • Oats
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Sage

*Fava Beans are native to Britain and have been grown and eaten since prehistoric times. They may seem hard to find in modern supermarkets, as they are now known as Broad Beans!


This recipe is designed to give a tasting portion (around two tablespoons) for a class of pupils.


1 onion

2 cloves garlic

1 large leek

1/2 head cabbage

1 cup beans (broad beans)

1.5 litres vegetable stock

Parsley to garnish (why not grow this? Parsley can be easily sewn and grown on windowsills in classrooms!)

Oatcakes or wholemeal bread to serve


Chop the onion.

To chop the leek chop off the end with the roots and chop a good inch off the green at the other end, as this can be rather tough. Chop the remainder of the leek in two, and then each piece in two lengthways and rinse well between the layers. Chop this into smaller pieces

Chop the cabbage into small shreds and chop or crush the garlic.

Measure out a cup of broad beans.

Heat the vegetable stock in a large pan.

Add all the ingredients to the stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the leeks, cabbage and onions are tender.

Serve hot, with an oatcake or some wholemeal bread for dunking!