Pease soup

This is my revised method for making pease soup, yes it is spelt that way, don’t ask me why but maybe it’s something to do with the other spelling being associated with the erstwhile propensity for fog in London. I’m posting a revision because I’ve been making and enjoying it for even longer now an a few principles have jelled within my mind and while the old method is not completely invalid, it does lead you up the garden path somewhat.

Firstly let’s list what you’ll need as absolute necessity:

Split peas, the yellow ones are best.

Water, the quality of water will determine how quickly you can cook your peas, not quite sure how it works, my water is hard, very hard but the mineral content is mostly calcium carbonate and it works just fine for preparing peas.

Salt, salt is the last essential ingredient and you really do need it.

A potato masher, salt may be the last ingredient that’s essential but a potato masher or similar is essential if you are to follow my method for making soup.

There is one last essential item but it can’t be constrained to a single ingredient because it fulfils a purpose that can me accommodated through various methods. I’m not sure what the recognised term for it would be but let me describe it for you. You know the best soups have this velvety texture, they’re not just a thin gruel or watery consommé? Well this is the last essential item I’m referencing, it’s necessary because the protein in peas is almost totally insoluble and the starch that is present, very little by the way, isn’t easy to liberate during cooking. In previous iterations of my method, I’ve used gelatine and or beef dripping to create the emulsion that creates the desired texture. Now though, I almost exclusively use olive oil and onion, I switched because the shops stopped stocking Britannia beef dripping and now I find I prefer the vegetable option. You can use other ingredients, leeks are particularly good but expensive and cauliflower or broccoli are also very good, although decent quality broccoli is quite hard to obtain. The important part of the vegetable ingredient is that it should be a rich source of freely soluble starch, which is why onions are so convenient.

That’s the list over with, let’s just make a point about onions, try and choose decent onions if they’re available, not the huge mutant and practically tasteless ones they foist on you at the supermarket. If you’re on your own, mutant onions are a real pain, they just too huge for a single serving but normal, old fashioned type onions are ideal size wize.

Now the method, sprinkle your peas into your saucepan, about 3ozs per serving is I find enough. if you using the soup as a supplement to other nutrition at your meal, 2oz would do and if you’re on single meal diet, you might want to push it to 4ozs but that’s too much pease soup for me.

Cover the peas with water and bring it to the boil, the amount of water while not crucial does play a part in the speed of preparation, try and judge it so it’s just enough water to cook the peas in. This seems to help because, when the peas are cooking, they seem to cook faster as the water is turning to steam.

When you’ve brought your peas to the boil, you’ll find a lather of foam on the surface, skim it off as best you can then bring the peas back up to the boil. You do this to deter the peas from to boiling over, which not only causes a mess, it interrupts the cooking process. Bring the peas back up to the boil then set a ring to a setting that will keep the water bubbling but wont cause the water to boil over, pitching the lid on the saucepan will probably be essential here and good tip is to put a very small amount of oil or fat in the boiling water, which will help deter foaming. Keep it bubbling for about ten minutes, occasionally a few minutes longer might be more efficient.

After the initial ten minutes bring out your potato masher and mash your peas, use a slow deliberate and methodical mashing action to accomplish the task as evenly as possible.

Now place the peas back on a low heat for a further ten minutes, the water does not need to be bubbling, just a gentle simmer will do.

Prepare the onion by slicing it.

After the second ten minutes mash the peas again, place the onion into the saucepan along with the olive oil and some salt. How much olive oil? I really wouldn’t know I just pour it till it looks good, maybe a desert spoon full or so. Place it back on a low heat. It’s better for the scent and flavour if the onions don’t get to the boil but simmer on a gentle heat for ten minutes. You should be able to tell when they’re cooked by the scent of onion coming from the kitchen, that’s a good indication that they’re just right and you don’t wan to be over cooking much after that. And that’s it a tasty nutritious meal for about 30p, even the saucepan is relatively easy to clean afterwards. There’s also something moreish about pease cooked this way, I do recall a chip shop outing from my childhood on the Portabello Rd, where they were serving chips with pease (pease soup, only thicker). When I declined a portion, one of the regulars exclaimed with earnest surprise, ‘You don’t want pease with that?’.

~ by deadspidereye on October 16, 2017.

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