Mushy peas are served by English Chippies to accompany fried battered fish and chips. In Ireland mushy peas are often served as a side to roast leg of lamb. Whatever way you choose, they are a delicious, easy-to-make side dish.
I serve mushy peas with fish and chips, just like they do in England. My husband lived and worked in London for nearly four years in his younger days and in that time span he grew very fond of fish, chips and mushy peas.
And so after we got married, it was not long before he requested mushy peas. Now in England and Ireland, mushy peas are made using dried marrowfat peas. These are very large peas, which are soaked overnight in water with dissolved bicarbonate of soda.
It is hard to find dried marrowfat peas where I live in America, unless I choose to order them online and pay top dollar. They can even be purchased pre-cooked in cans, but I am not fond of parting with extra cash for something I can recreate in my own kitchen.
My version of mushy peas is made using fresh peas, then I add butter and whipping cream to the mashed peas to create a smoother, creamier texture.
Here is my version using the best-case-scenario, substitute ingredients to recreate this side in an American kitchen.
- 12 oz fresh English peas
- 2 oz salted butter
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
I find fresh English peas at my local Sam’s Club. They turn out great. It is important to use a large pea. If you can’t find fresh in your area, try a packet of frozen peas, but avoid the petite frozen peas. They are just too small and when mashed there are too many skins and not enough soft pea filling to recreate the appropriate texture.
Pop the peas into a colander and rinse them well, sifting through them for any stones or brown ones.
Transfer the peas to a large saucepan with a steaming basket. Add 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of the pan.
Bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat and allow the peas to simmer for 10 minutes. This may seem a little long, but if you keep the peas too crispy they don’t mash well, to create that lovely mushy pea texture.
When I look at the photo of my steamed peas, I cringe at their wrinkles. I would never overcook peas like this if I was planning to serve plain steamed peas. But if they aren’t soft you’ll never mash them for mushy peas.
When they are tender, remove them from the heat and drain them.
Next melt the butter in the bottom of a saucepan.
Add the peas and mash with a potato masher. You might want to use a food processor to do this work for you, but I find it very hard to judge the correct texture using a food processor. I tend to end up with pea puree, rather than the perfect mix of mush and semi-solid peas required.
Anyway, at this stage I have already dirtied two saucepans, and the last thing I want to do is add to the clean up by transferring the peas to a food processor. Limit the dishes is always my motto!!!
Next add the whipping cream and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
If you want to create an alternative flavor, you can omit the cream and substitute finely chopped mint and two teaspoons of lemon juice. My husband is not fond of mint flavored peas, so I tend to stick with his favorite creamy version.
Serve with fish and chips. Yummy, yummy goodness!!!!
Here is the printable recipe:
These peas are also delicious served as a side for roasts, or lamb chops. Mushy peas were a highlight of many of my childhood Sunday dinners.
Wishing you all happy pea mushing!!!!
Slán agus beannacht leat!
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom