Restaurants in the Dordogne serve them under the name of ‘Pois Détrempés’; in Italy they are commonly known as ‘Piselli Pastosi’ and are a popular filling for ravioli; the Germans claim ‘Deutsche Matschig Erbsen’ to be their national dish, and of course the Spanish love nothing more than a tapas of ‘Guisantes Fofos’.
Here in the UK Gordon Ramsay has them on the menu at his authentic East End pub ‘Gordon Ramsay’s The Boozer’ as ‘Marrowfat Cassoulet with a Mint Persillade Suggestion’ and charges a reasonable £16.99 per portion, and on her ground-breaking cookery series ‘The Delicious Miss Dahl‘ Sophie added her own inimitable tweest and reimagined them as ‘Sophie’s Luvely Wubly Mushy Wushy Fluffy Wuffy Ploppy Pea Poos’. But that is as maybe, here up north us no nonsense northerners simply call them as they are – ‘Mushy Peas’. And they are reet good.
Preparation time: pretty much none – plus 12 hours soaking time
Cooking time: 30 – 45 minutes
Skill level: easy
- dried marrowfat peas – 300g
- bicarbonate of soda – 2tsp
- butter – knob
- mint sauce – 1-2tsp (optional)
- salt ‘n’ pepper
Start by soaking your peas overnight (or for at least 12 hours) in plenty of cold water mixed with the bicarbonate of soda (the more you use, the mushier the end result). The peas will expand by about three times, so make sure you have a large enough bowl and sufficient water.
Drain the peas and place in a saucepan. Cover (just) with cold water, bring to the boil, turn down the heat, and simmer until the peas are at your preferred level of mushiness. Keep an eye on the water level and top up if it looks like it is getting too dry.
Stir in a knob of butter and season to taste.
If using, stir in some mint sauce.
Also, if so inclined you could add some food colouring at this stage:
Hi-vis Green (aka E120) – for that authentic Batchelors look
Kooky Blue – for all those scatter-brained Bridget Jones types
Bloody Red – to scare the vegans
So good it was featured in The Guardian
Serve as an accompaniment to whatever you fancy, or alternatively as a snack on its own with a splash of malt vinegar.
Verdict: Delicious. We had ours with the Simon Hopkinson cheese and onion pie we serve it up to all our first time guests, plus sage-roasted new potatoes. If you like mushy peas, you’ll love these. If you don’t like the mushy peas you’ve had in the past, you still might love these. The (trad) way of eating them on their own with just a dash of vinegar is also thoroughly endorsed here at Yumblog. Tuck in.
Drink: We had guests up from that there London, so plenty.
Entertainment: Our guests talked long into the night of their sophisticated London ways. We sat slack jawed as they regaled phantasmagorical tales of bright lights, a giant metal eye, trains that travel underground, and most fanciful of all, beer at £4.60 a pint.