Nov 8

Papa’s Potage, an ever-changing recipe

in Family, Fruits & Vegetables, Recipes by Type

My dad is a creative cook. I think it scares my mom a little when he rolls up his sleeves and goes into the kitchen. When he was a little boy his dream was that someday when he was grown up he would have a refrigerator filled with every ingredient/topping imaginable to make the perfect sandwich. To this day he still subscribes to the “everything imaginable” mentality. As a kid I fell in love with his salads, omelets, and other concoctions because they had “everything imaginable” in them. He never worked from a recipe, he’d just open up the refrigerator and the pantry, see what was inside, start pulling stuff out and throwing it in a pot/bowl/frying pan and go to town. Years ago on one of the occasions he made a big pot of something, the basis of which was mashed potatoes and about 12 million heads of garlic, and put it on the table for us to eat. When we asked him what it was, he replied “It’s potage.”

Although this is the definition the that good ‘ole Wikipedia provides,

Potage [po-tahzh], n. (from Old French pottage; “potted dish”): a category of thick soups, stews, or porridges, in some of which meat and vegetables are boiled together with water until they form into a thick mush.

potage in my family has come to mean one of my dads concoctions that is hot and includes everything but the kitchen sink that isn’t easily labeled something else, like an omelet or a salad.
My mom recently joined a co-op where she picks up a huge box of yummy fresh organic produce every Saturday. Last weekend her box was filled with a ton of kale, collared greens, garlic, and all kinds of other goodies. The weekend before my mom had tried out a recipe for Southern Style greens and was ready for something different, so my dad rolled up sleeves and got to work.
My mom called me after they ate to tell me about the newest potage that my dad had concocted. I ended up talking to my dad as well so that I could get the full rundown of his “recipe” so I could try it out.
My mom had given me half of the contents of her co-op box because there was so much stuff in it they wouldn’t be able to finish it alone, so I had the same ingredients sitting in my kitchen that my dad had used. Last night I read through my dad’s recipe and got to work. About 30 minutes later I was dishing out servings of hot potage onto the plates of my hungry family. I served it with fresh moist pita bread. Verdict? 2 thumbs up Dad! This particular potage endeavor was a success. Not only was it flavorful, quick and easy, but it is SO good for you.

I’m including the “recipe”, but don’t let it tie you down. Just open up your refrigerator/pantry and see what’s inside, and I bet that you’ll be able to come up with your own unique version of potage!
Because Squirrel is my dad’s biggest fan, and she calls him “Papa”, I’m calling this particular potage, “Papa’s Potage”. Now, go forth and create.

Papa’s Potage

1 large onion, chopped
1-2 carrots, cut into rounds
1 head of garlic, peeled (you could also use minced garlic)
1 cube chicken bouillon
1/3-lb. bacon, chopped
2 zucchini, cubed
2 stalks celery, chopped
bunch of kale, chopped
bunch of collared greens, chopped
1 bag spinach leaves
4 eggs
3 pinches of coarse sea salt (I used Hawaiian Red Sea Salt)

1. In a large pot fry up the onions, carrots, garlic, bouillon cube, and bacon over medium-high heat until the vegetables start to soften.

2. Add the zucchini, celery, kale, and collared greens and cook for several minutes.

3. When everything is cooked through and soft add the spinach and mix. The spinach will wilt down quickly and does not need to be cooked for an extended period of time.

4. Crack one egg at a time into the pot and stir to mix.

5. Turn off the heat and season with sea salt. Serve.

Does your family have any words that they have made uniquely their own?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob November 8, 2008 at 3:05 pm

Heh, I love doing that kind of thing. Experimentation is key in the kitchen, how else are you going to find out what you like? I bet that smelled great while it was cooking.


mushroommeadows November 8, 2008 at 5:18 pm

YUMMY! That seriously looks tasty! I really like the taste of sea salt as opposed to plain salt!


K and S November 8, 2008 at 7:20 pm

sounds so good, the temperature has dropped 10 degrees over the past two days…


Meg November 8, 2008 at 7:32 pm

This looks delicious and healthy!


LollyChops November 8, 2008 at 9:40 pm

Adding an egg at the end is really interesting! I never would have thought to add in something like that with all those ingredients. As soon as I am up and cooking again I will def have to give this a shot.


Melanie Gray Augustin November 9, 2008 at 6:22 am

Looks yummy!

I think your dad and my Wayne would get on very well. He loves his “throw togethers” – coming up with something that just happens to be around.

When we move back, we’ll probably join the co-op again, so there will be a lot more meals like this.


nakayoshilife November 10, 2008 at 9:16 am

What are collared greens? I’ve never heard of them…


Fuji Mama November 10, 2008 at 9:24 am

nakayoshilife– They are a type of greens, like kale! Here is a more involved description:


Meg November 10, 2008 at 2:52 pm

ooh, that is how Chris cooks! I am always amazed, but probably because I don’t cook. :)

We don’t have collard greens, but we have everything else. Maybe I can get him to make it for me.


Chef E November 10, 2008 at 3:42 pm

I wished my parents cooked like this; otherwise it was always meat-potatoes, maybe a can of green beans. If I try and throw to many things together, it fails, like the time I put wayyyyy to many fava beans in an osso bucco recipe…even my hubby wouldn’t eat it!


Sophie December 1, 2008 at 3:07 pm

What a fun recipe :). I’d love to include his recipe on our blog, please let me know if you’re interested!

Sophie, Key Ingredient Chief Blogger
[email protected]


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