Whatever way you choose, they are a delicious, easy-to-make traditional British or Irish side dish.
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Mushy Peas in Ireland and the British Isles
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 all sprinkled with malt vinegar.
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 or baking soda as it is called in America.
These dried green peas are placed in a heat proof bowl with the baking soda and covered with boiling water, before being left to soak for at least 6 hours.
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 for Mushy Peas
Here you’ll find a quick list of what you’ll need for this recipe.
Check out the printable recipe at the bottom of this post for US and Metric equivalent versions of the recipe.
There you can choose the measurement system that works best for you.
- fresh English peas
- salted butter
- heavy whipping cream
I find fresh English peas at my local Sam's Club and they're a great substitute for dried peas. I have also seen them at Trader Joes. These big plump fresh peas are perfect for mushy peas recipes. They turn out great.
It's 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.
I don't add any garlic or onions to my mushy peas. I keep the flavor profile as clean as possible with the peas being the feature ingredient.
Directions for Mushy Peas
Here you’ll find step-by-step photographic instructions to help you recreate this recipe successfully. There are plenty of tips included along the way.
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 ½ 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, and achieve the desired consistency.
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 heavy cream and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or large mixing spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I like to use white pepper rather than black pepper. I think the peas look better without little black spot.
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.
In Ireland regular peas are often served with fresh mint, especially to accompany lamb whether it is roast leg of lamb or lamb chops.
Recipe Card for Homemade Mushy Peas
Here's a short video outlining the steps for this recipe.
Here is the printable recipe card.
- 12 ounces fresh English peas
- 2 ounces salted butter
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Place the peas in a colander and rinse well. Transfer the peas to a saucepan with a steaming tray. Add a ½ 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.
- Once the peas are tender, remove from the heat and drain.
- Melt the butter in the bottom of a clean saucepan. Add the steamed peas to the butter. Turn off the heat.
- 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.
- Serve with fried battered fish and chips.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
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!!!!
Thanks for following my recipes and ramblings.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade
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