Mushy Peas

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.

Ingredients

  • 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:

Mushy Peas

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Meal type Side Dish
Region British
Mushy peas are served as a side to fried battered fish and chips by English Chippies. This recipe uses fresh peas as opposed to dried traditional marrowfat peas, a best case ingredient substitution for American cooks.

Ingredients

  • 12oz fresh English peas
  • 2oz salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Step 1 Place the peas in a colander and rinse well.
Step 2 Transfer the peas to a saucepan with a steaming tray. Add a 1/2 inch of water to the bottom, and turn up the heat. Once the water is boiling turn down the heat and steam the peas for 10 minutes.
Step 3 Once the peas are tender, remove from the heat and drain.
Step 4 Melt the butter in the bottom of a clean saucepan. Add the steamed peas to the butter. Turn off the heat.
Step 5 Using a potato masher, mush the peas. Do not fully puree, but create a textured mush. Add the cream and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 6 Serve with fried battered fish and chips.

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

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Comments

  1. Oh please, please, please may I be invited for dinner? This looks fantastic!!! :-)
    You sure know how to make a girl hungry!
    Love,
    KAY

  2. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of mushy peas. I learn so much from your blog! :)

  3. wow you have some great recipes on your site! when i worked in london we also used dried split peas for our mushy peas, worked very much like the marrowfats with that creamy smooth texture, the marrowfats are hard to beat though!!,
    regards,
    Richard.

    • Richard – Marrowfats make perfect mushy peas, but when they are hard to come by we always find a substitute. Mushy peas are such a great side for fish and chips.
      Thanks for stopping by my site,
      All the best,
      Mairéad

  4. Ann warren says:

    Hello Irish American mum I came across your page from pin interest I too come from Ireland came to Australia 30 years ago enjoyed your recipes just like my Irish mum makes especially your bread recipes

  5. Thomas Jefferson planted marrowfat peas at Monticello and they’ve raised them every year,I ordered some and planted them,I’m on my 2nd year I’m up to 400 peas after planting them again next year I will get to taste them.

    • Dear Frank – Thanks so much for letting us know marrowfats featured in the gardens at Monticello. I hope you have a wonderful crop of peas next year and that you get to savor the goodness of homegrown mushy peas.
      Best wishes,
      Mairéad

  6. Ilene Spector says:

    I had mushy peas a few years ago in England and loved them. I now make them with frozen peas, the food processor, your basic recipe and serve at room temp as a dip….I name them for whatever occasion I am celebrating and everyone loves them! This weekend my sister & brother-in-law are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary with a party and the theme is “Casablanca”, their favorite movie. So I am calling them “Casablanca Moroccan Dip”…serving with store bought pita chips. Yum!

    • Ilene – I never thought of using this recipe as a dip served at room temperature – thanks so much for this wonderful tip. And I love your original names, created for each occasion. What a brilliant idea. I hope you all have a lovely time at your sister’s wedding anniversary this weekend. Happy anniversary to your sister and her husband.
      All the best,
      Mairéad

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  1. St. George’s Day and Mushy Peas | Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice says:

    […] a basic recipe to get you started on your Mushy Peas adventure, courtesy of Irish American Mom. Butter, whipping cream, salt, pepper, and peas, […]

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