Mushy peas are genuinely brilliant. For years growing up, I hated them, but then when I started making them, I began to understand the ins and outs of creating great mushy peas. I think they are one of the finest underrated sides in the UK and when I order fish and chips, I always have mushy peas, curry sauce and tartar sauce. I just hope I don’t run out of chips before I run out of sides.
Marrowfat peas are what are traditionally used to make mushy peas, and they’re also the variety of pea used to make wasabi peas. Marrowfat peas are mature green peas that have been deliberately left to dry out naturally in the field rather than being picked while they’re young like regular garden peas. They are much larger than regular peas and have a particularly high starch content. This gives mushy peas a very different consistency to regular peas will. Marrowfat peas will give you a smoother, creamier consistency.
In the spirit of British imagination, this simple side can be adapted into a heap of other sides—mushy pea fritters, mushy peas with ham hock and not forgetting minted mushy peas.
In this instalment, we are going to focus on the humble mushy pea.
|Ingredients||Small Batch||Large Batch|
|Dried Marrowfat Peas||3kg||12.5kg|
|Bicarbonate of Soda||150g||625g|
|Mushy Pea Seasoning||150g||625g|
▶️ Weigh out marrowfat peas and add to a tub.
▶️ Add water and agitate the peas. When the water is dark, discard and redo the process three times.
▶️ Your peas should be nice and clean now. Add bicarbonate of soda, cover with cold water and put a lid on the tub, and pop in the fridge. Washing the marrowfat peas is essential; clean peas will result in a cleaner flavour and a brighter colour.
▶️ Leave to soak from anywhere from 12-36 hours, the longer the better. If you aren’t sure how long you want to soak for you can read our guide on soaking marrowfat peas.
▶️ If you have a pressure cooker that’s great, but if you don’t there’s no need to rush out and buy one. In our tests, we didn’t find a huge difference in cooking times between a double jacket saucepan, a saucepan and a pressure cooker.
🔺 Note. When preparing peas, you must be looking for foreign objects all the time and removing them.
▶️ Pour soaked marrowfat peas into a colander, rinse with cold water to get rid of all the excess dirt.
▶️ Pour into the saucepan cover with water and required amount of Mushy Pea Seasoning and set to boil.
▶️ When the peas come to the boil, turn down the heat to break down the peas, always stirring and making sure peas do not stick to the bottom.
▶️ Once all peas are broken down, switch off, cool and decant into serving or storage pots.