This traditional Nova Scotia Hodge Podge recipe is the perfect way to celebrate early Summer vegetables. Filled with buttery new potatoes, sweet carrots, and tender green beans, you can find everything you need at your favorite Farmer's market.
If you're from Nova Scotia chances are you've had Hodge Podge (or at least heard of it). Particularly for those growing up in rural Nova Scotia, this creamy vegetable stew is a special event during the oh-too-short Summer months. New potatoes, carrots, green beans, yellow wax beans, and peas are all cooked until tender and then finished off with butter and cream.
During the Summer you can't step into a market without seeing those little bags of put-together-for-you hodge podge mixes. Or the bold and bright displays at the front of beans, carrots, new potatoes, and peas sold by the pound.
There is just something so nostalgic about this recipe, and each Summer I can't wait to make it again. This is the version I make for my family from my own personal cookbook - with extra butter and lots of thick, sweet cream. It's the best way to enjoy it, after all!
What is Hodge Podge?
The dish that is known as Hodge Podge (also referred to as Hotch-Potch) is a Spring and Summer stew that is made with new vegetables, butter, and cream.
It's a Summertime staple in Nova Scotia, where the ingredients are grouped together and sold at every Farmer's Market from July through to September.
This creamy vegetable stew is all about celebrating the simple fresh flavors of abundant produce. Very little is added in the way of seasoning or flavoring.
It is particularly popular in rural Nova Scotia, where vegetable gardens are very common. There is nothing quite like Hodge Podge made with homegrown fresh vegetables!
The ingredients in a traditional Nova Scotia Hodge Podge recipe can change with the seasons, and what you have available to you. It's always a mixed pot!
There are a few mainstays (like new potatoes, butter, and cream), but you can definitely switch it up based on what's at the farmer's market or coming out of your own garden.
- New potatoes: These potatoes are common to find in all agricultural communities, especially throughout the coastal Northeast. They are tender, new potatoes that have been pulled before their skins have toughened. New potatoes can be cooked with their skins on - just give them a good scrub beforehand.
- New carrots: You'll want to find small, undergrown carrots. They are easy to find throughout the late Spring and early Summer at Farmer's markets. If you can't find new carrots, just use baby carrots, OR standard ones that have been peeled and chopped.
- Green beans and Yellow Beans: These really must be fresh for the best hodge-podge!
- Peas or seasonal vegetables: In the Spring and early Summer it is very common to see fresh peas used in hodge podge. If you can't find them, frozen ones are fine (thaw them first), or substitute them for another seasonal vegetable.
- Salt: Enough to season the vegetables.
- Butter: This really adds richness to a dish that would otherwise be primarily vegetables. Definitely use the real stuff!
- Heavy cream: Ah, the best part! A generous "drizzle" (ahem, cupful) of heavy cream coats the buttery vegetables and makes for the most delightful of dinners. You can substitute a blend cream (half and half), but why would you?
Note: Some include Worcestershire sauce, but I do not recommend that since the flavor is very overpowering. It's definitely not a traditional ingredient.
See the recipe card for quantities of the ingredients listed.
- Dutch oven (or a large soup pot): You'll need a lidded pot large enough to fit all of the vegetables in. I like to use a 6-quart Dutch oven (hey, it works for Blueberry Grunt too), but you could use any pot with a lid.
How to Make Hodge Podge
This traditional Nova Scotia Spring and Summertime stew is so easy to make. Get ready for good eating - you'll be asking why you don't make it way more often!
Step one: Prepare the vegetables. Clean and halve the new potatoes, trim the new carrots, and cut the green and yellow wax beans into 2" pieces.
Step two: Add the new potatoes and new carrots to a large pot, and pour in enough water to cover.
Step three: Add salt to the pot and stir to distribute evenly, then cover with a lid.
Step four: Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Once a boil is reached, remove the lid. Continue to cook until the potatoes and carrots are tender (about 15-20 minutes).
Adding the Beans and Peas
Step five: Once the potatoes and carrots are tender, add in the trimmed green and yellow wax beans, as well as the peas. Stir well to distribute.
Step six: Cook for 2-4 minutes, or until the vegetables turn bright green, but are still tender.
Step seven: Remove from the heat and drain off almost all of the water, leaving just ¾ cup of water remaining in the pot.
Finishing with Butter and Cream
Step eight: Add 6 tablespoons of butter to the large pot of veggies. Stir gently to help the butter melt. I like to bury it in hot vegetables for a minute or two, then come back and stir it in.
Step nine: For the last step, drizzle in a full cup of heavy whipping cream and stir very gently to coat. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your taste, and add your favorite fresh herb if desired.
Ladle generous servings of hodgepodge soup into bowls, and watch them disappear!
This is my favorite soup recipe for many reasons. I especially love that my family eats their veggies with zero complaints. I mean: butter and cream make everything better.
Hint: It's really important not to overcook the different vegetables, which is why they are added at different times. Potatoes and carrots need a longer cook time, while peas and beans need just a quick 2 minutes. Even if you're tempted, don't add it all at once.
- Heavy whipping cream - To make the dish a bit lighter you could substitute the heavy cream for a blend cream (half and half). Some people use evaporated milk, but I wouldn't recommend it - it doesn't taste very "fresh" in my opinion.
- New potatoes - If you can't find new potatoes at the Farmer's market or grocery store, you can substitute them for "baby potatoes", sometimes labeled "little potatoes".
- Vegetarian - Hodge podge is naturally a vegetarian dish, so no substitutions are needed!
- With herbs - Hodge podge is meant to be a celebration of seasonal vegetables and flavors. While the dish doesn't need herbs, you could definitely add a few seasonal herbs to switch up the flavor if desired. Parsley and dill are good options.
- With bacon - Many people enjoy their hodge podge with bacon. If you do too, crisp up some chopped bacon and remove it once it's cooked through. Drain the fat and add the vegetables per the recipe. Stir in the cooked bacon after you add the butter and cream.
- With salt pork - It's very common to include salt pork. This is done in a similar way as bacon is, by rendering and crisping the chopped fat. You may leave the salt pork inside of the pot before adding the vegetables and water, or you could add it back in after finishing - totally up to you.
- With coconut milk - I haven't tried this substitution, but you could use coconut milk instead of heavy cream. Just be sure to use full-fat canned coconut milk (the stuff in the carton is too thin), and expect there to be a very coconut-y flavor.
Any leftover hodgepodge can be stored in the original pot in the fridge. Alternatively, you could transfer it to an airtight container. Store for up to 3 days, although it is best if it is eaten the next day.
To reheat, simmer on the stovetop OR microwave in 30-second intervals until completely warmed through.
Remember that the point of hodge-podge is to allow the early Summer vegetables to have the spotlight. It's about playing up the simple, but delicious flavors of fresh new potatoes, sweet carrots, buttery peas, and tender green beans.
Appreciate it for what it is, without trying to add a lot in the way of herbs and seasonings. Simple is the goal!
Frequently Asked Questions
Hodge podge is primarily a vegetarian dish (although some versions include bacon or salt pork), consisting of new potatoes, carrots, green beans, yellow wax beans, and fresh peas (or other seasonal vegetables). They are cooked until tender, then drained and finished with butter and cream for a decadent and delicious Summer soup experience.
Nova Scotia has a vibrant culinary and cultural scene, with many dishes earning accolades from both locals and tourists. It is most well known for the famous Halifax donair, but blueberry grunt, hodge podge, oatcakes, and Acadian rappie pie are all popular and traditional dishes.
Hodge Podge is a stew that was made popular in Nova Scotia, consisting of fresh Summer vegetables tossed in a buttery and creamy liquid. It's believed to have originated from the English "Hotch-Potch", which means a mix of things. You may be familiar with the phrase "It was a hotchpotch", meaning that there was a lot going on - a mess if you will. The same is true of the dish, which features a great array of seasonal vegetables all together in one pot.
What to Serve With Hodge Podge
Nova Scotia Hodge Podge is definitely a dish that can stand on its own, but pairing it with a few side items really makes this meal ultra-hardy. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Tea biscuits
- Brown bread with butter
- Steamed mussels
If you loved this Nova Scotia Hodge Podge recipe, let me know by leaving a 5-star review in the recipe card, OR tag me on Instagram @maritimecountrykitchen!
Nova Scotia Hodge Podge
- Dutch Oven or heavy-bottomed pot
- 1 ½ cups halved new carrots
- 3 pounds new potatoes cleaned and cut in half
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 ½ cups trimmed green beans cut into 2" pieces
- 1 ½ cups trimmed yellow wax beans cut into 2" pieces
- ¾ cup fresh shelled peas (optional, or use frozen)
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream or blend cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add the quartered new carrots (or peeled and chopped mature carrots) and new potatoes to a large dutch oven or saucepan with a lid.
- Add enough water to the pot to cover the vegetables, and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Cover with a lid.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Once a boil has been reached, remove the lid. Cook until the potatoes and carrots are tender, 15-20 minutes.
- Once the potatoes are fork-tender, add in the peas, green beans, and yellow wax beans. Stir and cover with the lid. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until the green beans and peas are bright in color.
- Remove from the heat and drain off all but ¾ cup of the water.
- Add in the butter and stir until melted.
- Add in the heavy cream and stir it in. Taste and add salt and pepper to your taste.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Use fresh, seasonal, and new vegetables.
- Hodge podge is unique to each family, so feel free to use a variety of garden fresh veggies.
- If desired, you can use blend cream (half-and-half) in place of the whipping cream for a lighter consistency.