Pease pudding, sometimes known as pease pottage or pease porridge, is a term of British origin regarding a savoury pudding dish made of boiled legumes, which mainly consists of split yellow or Carlin peas, water, salt, and spices, often cooked with a bacon or ham joint. It is commonly eaten throughout the whole of the North East of England, some parts of the Midlands and a few places in the South; to a lesser extent in the rest of the United Kingdom and in Newfoundland, Canada. (In Middle English, “Pease” was treated as a mass noun, similar to “oatmeal”, and the singular “pea” and plural “peas” arose by back-formation.)
It is typically thick, somewhat similar in texture to Hummus, and is light yellow in colour, with a mild taste. Pease pudding was traditionally produced in England, especially in the industrial North Eastern areas. It is often served with ham or bacon and Stottie Cakes. It is also a key ingredient in the classic saveloy dip which consists of a bread roll spread with pease pudding on one half, Sage and Onion Stuffing on the other with a slight smear of mustard and a saveloy sausage cut in half and then dipped gently into either the stock the saveloys are boiled in or gravy, only the top half is usually dipped as not to make it difficult to hold or eat. In Southern England it is usually served with faggots. Also in Southern England is the small village of Pease Pottage which, according to tradition, gets its name from serving pease pottage to convicts either on their way from London to the South Coast or from East Grinstead to Horsham (well-known to motorists due to Pease Pottage motorway service station on the A23/M23). Peasemeal brose, also commonly known as brosemeal, is a traditional breakfast dish in the North of Scotland. The best in Britain is supposed to come from Golspie Mill in Sutherland where it is still ground with stone mills powered by the ‘Big Burn’. In Scotland it is made in the traditional way and usually eaten with butter, and salt or honey. In parts of the Midlands it replaces Mushy Peas and is eaten with Fish and Chips and is thought to be the original side order only later replaced with mushy peas due to a lack of knowledge or availability of the dish.
It is a traditional part of Jiggs dinner in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
In German-speaking countries, pease pudding is known under the name Erbspüree. Alternative regional names are Erbsbrei or Erbsmus. It is especially widespread in the traditional cuisine of the German capital Berlin. The best-known German dish which is traditionally served with pease pudding is Eisbein.
In Beijing cuisine, Wan Dou Huang (豌豆黄) is a sweetened and chilled pease pudding made with yellow split peas or shelled mung beans, sometimes flavoured with sweet osmanthus blossoms and dates. A refined version of this snack is said to have been a favourite of Empress Dowager Cixi.
In Greek cuisine, a similar dish is called Fava (Φάβα). Despite the name, it is usually made from yellow split peas, not Fava beans. The mashed peas are usually drizzled with olive oil and topped with chopped raw onions.
Pease Pudding Recipe
Pease pudding is typically thick, somewhat similar in texture to hummus, and is light yellow in colour, with a mild taste. Pease pudding was traditionally produced in England, especially in the industrial North Eastern areas. It is often served with ham or bacon and stottie cakes.
- 500 g yellow split peas, soaked overnight in cold water
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered,
- 1 carrot, peeled and quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons malt vinegar
- sea salt and white pepper
- 20 g butter, cut into chunks
- For the pease pudding, drain the soaked peas and tip into a saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, bay leaves and cover with water (adding some of the stock from the gammon if its not too salty).
- Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Lower the heat and simmer gently for an hour or until the peas are tender.
- Discard the onion, carrot, and bay leaves and tip the peas into a blender. Blitz to a puree, then pour into a clean pan. Add the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Gradually beat in the butter a cube at a time. Keep warm until ready to serve, adding a little water if too dry.
- Serve with a good thick slice of cooked ham or a gammon steak and a parsley sauce.