Best known as an accompaniment to fish and chips, mushy peas have much more to offer. Here’s Jenny Chandler’s recipe for simple but sublime classic mushy marrowfat peas, with a solution to achieving a rich green colour without food colouring, and suggestions for mouth-watering ways to serve them.
Makes 10 generous portions
- 500g Dried Marrowfat Peas – Hodmedod’s Kabuki variety works especially well
- 1-2 tsp Salt
- 3-4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or 50g Butter)
- 250g Fresh Spinach (optional for extra-green mushy peas)
- Soak the peas in plenty of water overnight (or for 12 hours), remembering to use a large pan/bowl as the peas will double in size at least.
- Drain off the soaking water and then place in a large plan with enough fresh water to cover by about 5cm. You may need to top up the pea water during cooking but you certainly don’t want to have to drain any of this nutrient-rich juice away later.
- Bring the pan up to a boil, cover and then simmer for anything between 40 minutes and an hour (if you have hard water, filtering can help reduce the cooking time). Check the peas from time to time, they may require a splash more water and once they begin to burst and collapse its a good idea to stir the pan every few minutes to prevent any sticking.
- The final texture of your peas is up to you: I like quite a thick mush and so I bubble off any extra moisture but you may finish up by adding more water to reach your perfect consistency.
- Now’s the time to season with salt and, for an especially luscious creamy taste, some fat: either butter or extra virgin oil.
- If you’re eating your peas later you will find that they thicken up and you may need to add a little more liquid as you reheat them.
Optional Steps for Extra-Green Mushy Peas
- Wash the spinach thoroughly and remove any tough or particularly stringy stalks.
- Squash the leaves into a saucepan with a well fitting lid, there will be no need for any extra water if your leaves are still damp from washing (if using ready-washed spinach just add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan). Place the pan over a medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, until the spinach has collapsed and turned a fabulously deep green.
- Blitz the spinach to a purée using a hand-held or jug blender – you want it to be really smooth otherwise your peas will be flecked with spots rather than beautifully green.
- Stir the spinach purée into your cooked mushy peas just before serving to keep the really vibrant green.