These are not traditional mushy peas, by any means. But, don’t let that stop you from trying them. (Traditionally, mushy peas are made by soaking dried marrowfat peas in water and baking soda overnight, then draining and rinsing, then simmering for hours. Now, that’s enough to stop us from trying something that we’ve never even tasted before.) Don’t let the name stop you, either. Sure, they sound, well, somewhat like baby food, but mushy peas are quite traditional in Britain, where they’re often served at fish and chips shops. That’s enough of a recommendation for us to try them as a side for our Christmas dinner.
Actually, we tried them because we’re trying to think of what to put together for a traditional Irish meal, and, when we searched for Irish pea recipes, up popped Mushy Peas, by Irish American Mom. Now, we didn’t follow her recipe exactly — she starts with fresh English peas, but we go one step further and use frozen peas. We can’t say how much of a difference it makes, but we just can’t get fresh peas around here very often.
Use regular-sized peas, not the petite peas; the larger size will mash better. We like to use organic heavy cream when possible, as there’s nothing but cream in the container. Check the ingredients list on your container of heavy cream and compare.
Procedure in detail:
Thaw peas. We didn’t want our peas to simmer a long time in the butter and cream — we were afraid the butterfat would separate — so we placed the peas in a colander and poured boiling water over them. Once thawed, let drain.
Heat through. Place the butter, peas, and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the butter melts and the liquid starts to simmer, taste test a pea to see if it’s heated all the way through. If so, remove from heat; otherwise, simmer a minute or two more.
Mash. Use a potato masher and mash the peas. You don’t want a smooth mixture, more like a lumpy pea mixture. You might notice that not all the liquid is incorporated while you mash, but the next step should fix that.
Season. Add the salt and pepper, adjusting for your own preferences, of course, then stir to mix in. The liquid should now be mixed in the peas. Serve immediately while still hot.
It’s butter and cream, so what’s not to like? These were delicious, and, while purists will claim that they aren’t the least bit authentic, we simply don’t care. Sure, someday we might make mushy peas the traditional way, but, for now, these quick mushy peas will work. Four stars.