wabun point potage

September 1, 2013


Potage (from Old French pottage; “potted dish”) is a category of thick soups, stews, or porridges made by boiling vegetables, grains, and, if available, meat or fish. It was a staple food of all people living in Great Britain from neolithic times on into the Middle Ages. Potage commonly consisted of various ingredients easily available to serfs and peasants and could be kept over the fire for a period of days, during which time some of it was eaten and more ingredients added. The result was a dish that was constantly changing. Potage consistently remained a staple of the poor’s diet throughout most of the 9th-17th-century Europe.

Wabun Point is on Garden Island on Lake Temagami, and protects  a peaceful, rustic, homey cabin built, loved, passed on, and tended to by the Lewis family. We rented the cottage from Richard P. Lewis The Third and Marg Lewis (I assume The First)  for 10 days this summer and, on our last day there, emptied the fridge of whatever ingredients were left and came to the conclusion that the only reasonable thing to do with them was to make a potage in true peasant style on the old vintage Moffat stove. We did not keep it for days adding ingredients but, instead, slurped it down to the last drop in our bowls with a satisfied smack of the lips when it was all done, leaving a container or two in the fridge for Dick and Marg as the soup is now, officially, named after their sweet little abode. My recipe is below but it’s more of a guideline as the real McCoy has no recipe but is made from creativity and necessity.

Wabun Point Potage

3 tbsps olive oli

1 large spanish onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 large red potatoes, diced

1/4 head green cabbage, shredded

1/4 head red cabbage, shredded

4 carrots, shredded


2 cups veggie stock

28 oz can whole tomatoes

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 cobs corn, niblets removed

3 tomatoes, diced

sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed dutch over on the stove or an open fire. Add chopped onions and sauté for a few minutes until they become soft and translucent. Add minced garlic and sauté for another 2 -3  minutes until garlic becomes fragrant. Add diced potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and thyme. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium-high heat until the vegetables begin to soften.

Add veggie stock, canned tomatoes, bay leaves, and red wine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through and the flavours start to meld. Add fresh tomatoes and boil down until incorporated. Add corn niblets about 10 minutes before serving. Season with sea salt and pepper. Serve with a nice crusty artisan bread, sit by the fire, and enjoy.

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