Pease Glorious Pease

Pease pudding and saveloys! What next is the question?

From the musical Oliver!‘s memorable “Food Glorious Food”

See, I’d always assumed (as, I might add, did the person who added the subtitles above), that the line was “peas, pudding and saveloys”. I may not have known what saveloys were, yet it seemed only natural to suppose them sugary and sweet – sure they had to be, didn’t they come after the peas and the puddin’. It made perfect sense to my childhood brain. As it turns out, though, I was mistaken on all counts.

To be fair, I’d need to have grown up in the north of England to be familiar with either pease pudding or saveloys – the former a kind of savoury pâté made from split peas and usually cooked with a bacon joint, the latter, a spicy pork sausage.

Beyond my experience though it was, however, it was pease pudding that sprang to mind when I lately happened upon some yellow split peas. The descriptions I had read of pease pudding as being a kind of pâté or hummus got me thinking – and this, gloriously, was the result.

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Split Pea Hummus (aka Pease Pâté)

Split pea hummus

This is certainly not your usual hummus.

Apart from the fact that it uses yellow split peas in place of chickpeas, it forsakes tahini, olive oil and lemon juice in favour of fried onions, vegemite, mustard and sherry vinegar, with a more savoury end result.

If you’re not given to using vegemite (or similar pastes made from yeast extract, such as marmite), then go easy at first. They’re wonderfully savoury but are somewhat of an acquired taste and a little does goes a long way. If you don’t have (or don’t want to use) vegemite or similar here, you could probably try substituting some dark soy sauce for a different kind of savoury taste.

You’ll need:

  • 225g yellow split peas
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • olive oil for frying
  • salt
  • 2 medium-sized onions (about 350g), finely sliced
  • 2 tsp vegemite or marmite or to taste
  • 1.5 tsp dijon mustard or to taste
  • 2.5 tsp sherry vinegar or to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper

You’ll also need:

  • A food processor for blending everything together, though you can mash everything together by hand if you need to.

The Steps:

  • Rinse the yellow split peas in several changes of water, then soak for 8-10 hours or overnight. Drain when ready to use.
  • Place a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. When hot, add about a tblsp of olive oil and swirl around the pan. Add the chopped garlic and stir and fry for about a minute.
  • Add the split peas, a tsp of salt and about 1 litre of water to the saucepan. Bring to the boil, then cover, lower the heat and simmer until tender – should take around an hour or so.
  • Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add about 2 tblsp olive oil. Add the sliced onions and a pinch or two of salt. Fry the onions, stirring periodically, until well browned, about 35-45 minutes.
  • When the split peas have finished cooking, drain them but reserve the cooking liquid. Add the split peas to your food processor along with most of the browned onions (reserving a few for garnish). Blend together well along with about 3 tblsp of the cooking liquid or more if you prefer a looser consistency (you can keep the rest of the liquid to use as a vegetable stock). If you don’t have a food processor, just mash the split peas using a fork, chop the browned onions very finely and mix in a bowl with the cooking liquid.
  • Now mix in the vegemite (or marmite), mustard and sherry vinegar. I’d suggest starting with about a tsp of each and add more to taste, along with a few twists of black pepper and salt if it needs it.
  • Garnish with the reserved onions and eat as a dip or spread onto bread as part of a cheddar cheese sandwich. I rather fancy that it would also go well with ham or even saveloys.

The Variations:

  • You could make something closer to traditional hummus by adding lemon juice and olive oil to your split peas instead of the vegemite, mustard and vinegar.

The Results:

  • About 600g of split pea “hummus”

Oh, and another thing….

It’s that time of year again and nominations are open for the Irish Blog Awards. The Irish food blogger scene has been blossoming in the past year, not to mention the fact that we’ve now got our very own association, which means there’s bound to be some pretty tasty competition in the food and drink category. So get your nominating socks on and give the nod to your favourite (ahem!) Irish food blog over here.

Comments
  • Waw!! what a tasty, apart & well flavoured split peas hummus,..I love it!!

    I made your beer mustard yesterday & I had huge success with it !!! My friends & husband loved it to bits!

    Thanks again!

  • I’m so glad to hear that Sophie! I’m loving that beer mustard myself – will be making more of it for sure.

  • I had no idea what ‘pease’ was, except from the nursery rhyme “Pease Pudding hot, Pease Pudding cold…” Thanks to this post, I am enlightened! And your pease pâté is infinitely more appealing than “Pease Pudding in a pot, nine days old.” I’d like to try a Filipino savory alternative to marmite or vegemite – will let you know if I find somethings adequate! 8-)

  • Well now, that rhyme is a new one on me, TN (though, like you, I’m not sure that I’d want to go near a 9 day old version, lol). Definitely curious if you find an alternative to marmite or vegemite – do let me know how you get on!

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