Fried fish and chips as a complete meal are believed to have started in northern England near Manchester around the mid-1800s. The Northerners are still proud of their traditional fish & chip tradition. They also insist that chips and fish be served with mushy beans, the rule for generations. Although most regions in Britain do mushy peas alongside fish and chips, You could argue the northern areas of England; it’s almost a sin not to.
When he visited Britain in the 1980s, Michael Jackson insisted on mushy peas and fish chips. That’s it. Inseparable.
Besides being the fish-and-chip-and-mushy-peas champion, Northern England is home to breathtaking landscapes, stunning historic cities, and beautiful villages. It’s impossible to discuss British food without also talking about this country. Let’s go on an overview.
A Brief Tour of a Beautiful Northern English City
One of my favorite places in the northern part of England is the town of Chester, which borders the northern part of Wales. My ancestors come from across Great Britain, including numerous pieces of England, Scotland, and Wales. My most recent relatives are my great grandparents, who on the father’s side originate from Wales on one side and are from Cheshire, England (home of Chester) on the other.
Chester was initially established as a Roman fort in 79 AD but later evolved into a significant civil settlement. It was 20 percent larger than any fortress constructed at the time, and historians believe that Chester, and not London, was intended to be the Roman capital of Britain. It was a mighty fortress. Chester was among the city in England to surrender to the Normans.
Chester remains one of the most well-preserved cities with walls in Britain and is home to various buildings dating to the medieval period. When I was in England, Chester was one of my top places to go. It’s a unique and distinctive city, with a beautiful town center and a magnificent cathedral.
A side note: Chester was also home to the most famous fudge shop, and you could taste the most delicious, original flavors while watching the makers of fudge at work.
The Chester Cathedral is breathtaking. It was built in 1093 AD and was completed through the centuries, with various modifications and additions added over the course of time. The result is that it encompasses all the major styles characteristic of English traditional architecture. The cathedral is currently used for worship services and, in addition to being a popular tourist destination, hosts exhibitions and concerts.
Returning to our initial topic of FOOD, if you ever choose to order fish and chips from a chippy near Chester (that’s an utterly tongue-in-cheek! ), You can be confident that they’ll serve soft peas!
Let’s look at how to create authentic soft peas. Many recipes you can find on the web are made up of freshly picked English peas and frozen. There are cooks from southern England who do the same. However, these are not the proper peas. Talk to anyone Northerner, and they’ll inform you that mushy peas should be prepared using marrowfat peas.
What Are Marrowfat Peas?
The mature Marrowfat Peas are green beans left to dry naturally in the fields rather than being harvested when they’re still young as regular garden peas. Marrowfat peas are traditionally utilized to create English Mushy peas. They’re also the kind of peas used to make wasabi peas. They are much bigger than regular peas and possess an extremely high amount of starch. This gives a different texture to mushy peas, unlike regular peas. If cooked to make Mushy Peas, Marrowfat peas can give you a smoother, more creamy consistency.
They’ll give you distinct flavors and texture than ordinary peas, and if you’re thinking of making a genuine mushy pea which is the real deal, it’s worth your time to search for the best peas.
How to Make Mushy Peas
Dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Put the dried marrowfat peas in a bowl. Pour the hot water in until they’re covered with a minimum of 3 inches. Stir the peas and then let them soak for a minimum of 12 hours.
Rinse and drain the peas, then place them in a saucepan with approximately three cups of water. Bring the water to the boiling point, cover, lower the heat to a simmer and let it simmer for around 30 minutes, stirring now and then until the desired consistency is achieved. The amount of time you’ll need to simmer peas will vary based on the specific crop and the time of your peas.
If it seems as if it takes forever for them to soften, do not worry. The peas will start to break down in minutes (photo lower right).
After the peas have been completely broken down, add salt.
If the peas seem too fluid, cook with the lid closed until the mixture thickens to the desired level. If the peas aren’t dense, add a small amount of water. Check again and add more salt, if necessary.
After the peas have been cooked, they’ll begin to get thicker the longer they are left to sit. If you want to reheat them later or the next day, add more water.
Serve these peas mushy alongside British fish and chips or meat pie.
Authentic British Mushy Peas
Kimberly KillebrewAuthentic British Mushy Peas precisely as you’ve learned and enjoy them at your favorite English bar or the chippy! With the perfect taste and texture, make your mushy peas precisely how you want them!
Dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Put the dried marrowfat beans in a bowl, then pour hot water on them, ensuring they are covered with at least three inches. Stir the peas and let them sit for a minimum of 12 hours.
Rinse and drain the peas, then place them in a saucepan with approximately three cups of water. Bring the water to the boiling point, then cover with a lid, lower the heat to medium, and let it simmer for around 30 minutes while stirring frequently or until desired consistency is achieved. When the peas are completely broken down, add salt. Note: The time you must simmer the peas depends on the particular peas and the time of your peas.
If the peas seem too liquid, simmer with the lid closed until it becomes thicker to the desired level. If the peas aren’t thick, add a bit of water. Check again and add more salt as needed. After the peas have been cooked, they’ll get wider as they sit. If you are heating them later or the next day,, add more water.