Homemade mushy peas are an iconic classic British comfort food. So tasty, minty and just unexplainably moreish!
If you haven't tried homemade mushy peas then your certainly in for a surprising treat.
Only a few simple ingredients are needed to prepare a batch of British mushy peas that will pair up beautifully with any meal.
But especially good with mashed potatoes, potato wedges, or fries along with a delicious pie or a few tasty veggie sausages. Oh and don't forget lots of veggie gravy!
This British mushy pea recipe is suitable for plant-based diets, vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free diets, everyone and anyone who loves delicious wholesome as well as budget-friendly food.
Origin Of Mushy Peas
British mushy peas originated from the medieval pottage meal that sustained people from all social classes for hundreds of years throughout history.
A pottage meal is simply vegetables stewed very thickly with either peas, beans, grains (most likely oats and barley), and sometimes meat when available, along with whatever herbs and flavourings were at hand.
One such pottage meal is peace pudding which inspired the children's nursery rhyme:
peace pudding hot
peace pudding cold
peace pudding in the pot nine days old
some like it hot
some like it cold
some like it in the pot nine days oldOrigin unknown.
Some variations of the rhyme state porridge instead of pudding. The rhyme referred to the medieval cookery act of having a continuous pot of porridge, pudding or pottage over the fire ready for meal times.
As the pot contents were eaten, more ingredients were added to the pot so that by the ninth day the pudding had been on the stove for nine days!
Peas were a common food during British medieval times so the addition of peas to the everyday peace pudding meal would have been more than likely.
For a medieval inspired vegan pottage recipe check this one we have on the blog which was created by my daughter who is a medieval history fan!
Or for a traditional British sweet barley pudding have a look at our slow cooker sweet barley pudding which is also inspired by medieval cookery.
How To Prepare Homemade British Mushy Peas
Bring to the boil and cook for 45-55 minutes or until the peas are thick and mushy.
The peas will become thick and mushy just by simmering and do not need any help!
Give the peas a good stir, scraping down any pea residue from the pan sides and mixing back through the mushy peas.
Although the peas will thicken even more as they cool down.
Season with extra salt and chuck in a few more mint leaves if liked.
Be warned that once you taste the mushy peas it may be difficult to stop enjoying 'tester' bites!
Mushy peas can be stored within a covered container and placed in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Mushy peas can be frozen for 3-4 months within a freezer bag or container.
Freezing the mushy peas in portion sizes will make it easier to pull out 1 or 2 servings.
Simply pop the mushy peas into a saucepan and reheat gently until piping hot.
Stir frequently and if necessary add a tiny bit of water to loosen up the peas but as the peas heat the sauce will become looser.
Mushy peas are free from gluten ingredients.
Of course not.
Fresh mint leaves add a subtle but lovely mint flavour to the peas but dried mint can be used instead.
Or use a teaspoon or two of shop-bought jarred mint sauce such as Coleman's mint sauce.
Marrowfat peas are dried peas that have been left in the field to mature and dry out naturally before being harvested.
Peas intended to be frozen are picked while they are young and smallish, then frozen quickly to retain the sweetness. In contrast as marrowfat peas have an extended time within the field they become larger and starchier.
Marrowfat peas are a common ingredient that can be sourced within most UK supermarkets and smaller grocery shops. They can be located on the same aisle as the dried soup mixes, dried lentils and dried split peas. And best of all marrowfat peas are very inexpensive.
Marrowfat or whole dried peas may be more difficult to source within the US or other countries but Amazon.com does offer Batchelor's Bigga dried peas selected marrowfats for sale which are perfect for preparing mushy peas.
The answer is simply that green food colouring has been added to the mushy peas during cooking. Many British chip shops and restaurants add green colouring to the mushy peas.
However, the green colouring is not required as the natural colour of the marrowfat peas is attractive enough especially when dotted with fresh darker green mint leaves.
One of the beauties of mushy peas is that as they simmer away they naturally break down and become mushy.
Although soaking the peas in bicarbonate of soda does speed this process and help the peas to break up quicker and easier.
No, but it is traditional to soak the peas in bicarbonate of soda so if possible do so.
After soaking the bicarbonate of soda is rinsed away and fresh water is used to cook the peas.
However, if for some reason you can not have bicarbonate of soda then just soak the peas in water.
Although do keep in mind that the peas may require more cooking time to cook to the desired consistency.
It is traditional to serve pies (pot pies) or fish and chips with a side of mushy peas which are especially popular orders within British fish and chip shops.
Mashed potatoes topped with mushy peas, cooked onions and gravy is also a popular meal.
Any meal will be extra delicious with a scoop of mushy peas on the side.
A few more suggestions:
* veggie sausages and mashed potatoes or mashed turnip (rutabaga)
* veggie sausage rolls/pot-pies/pies
* cauliflower or mushroom steaks and gravy or sauce
* toasted/grilled bread with hot mushy peas on top (toasted Irish soda bread would be particularly tasty)
* baked white/sweet potatoes
* potato chips/wedges/fries
* vegan traditional British corned 'beef' tempeh and potato hash
More Tasty Vegan Side-Dishes
British Wartime Champ (mash of potatoes, swede and white cabbage)
Homemade British Mushy Peas
- non-stick saucepan with lid
- 250 grams marrowfat peas dried
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda optional, can be omitted
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 10 small-medium mint leaves or use 1-2 teaspoons of dried mint or mint sauce (the one that comes in a small jar such as Coleman's mint sauce)
- 1.3 litres water
- The night before cooking the mushy peas soak the marrowfat peas in cold water with one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda mixed through. Or just soak the peas in water, the bicarbonate of soda is particularly good addition if your dried peas are a little old as it will help soften the tough skins.
- Drain the soaked peas and rinse with fresh water. Pop the peas into a pan along with ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of sugar, sliced or whole mint leaves and 1.3 litres (5 ½ cups) of water.
- Bring to the boil and cook for 45-55 minutes until the peas are thick and mushy. Give the peas a stir now and again.
- As the peas cool the sauce will become even thicker. However, if not simply simmer for a little while longer to thicken up.
- Taste the mushy peas and add extra salt to taste.
- Some black pepper can be added if liked. A few drops of malt vinegar sprinkled over the top of the peas once served is also a tasty addition.
- A few extra fresh mint leaves can be added to the finished mushy peas.
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- Nutritional data is for 6 servings. However you may get less or more portions out of the recipe depending on serving sizes.
- Store leftover mushy peas within a covered container for 3 days.
- Freeze for up to 3-4 months. Freeze in desired portion sizes, in either freezer bags or small containers, which will make life easier!
- Reheat by adding to a non-stick pan and over a low-medium heat reheat until piping hot. Stir frequently. A little water can be added to loosen up the peas if needed.
- Mushy peas are extremely tasty enjoyed chilled straight from the refrigerator for a snack.
- Or enjoy reheated and dolloped on top of toasted bread for a tasty lunch or light dinner.
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