Pease pudding is a simple, savory, pudding-like side dish made of yellow split peas. They're simmered until soft, then mashed and served on white rolls with ham.
Call it British hummus if you will, pease pudding is one of the oldest recipes written in English history. This recipe originates back to the 1500’s. It originated in the region I am from, the North East of England.
Also known as pease porridge or pease pottage. ‘pease’ was treated as a mass noun, the singular "pea" and the plural "peas" to form the word pease that was used in Middle English.
There were no kitchens in those days. Picture a large cast iron pot hanging over an open fireplace and everyday mostly vegetables and dried peas, some meat (if they could get it) were added to the pot.
They would cook it for supper and leave the rest in the pot, sometimes for days. The result was pottage, and the basic element of the peasant diet.
Pease porridge and the story of it sitting in the pot for days at a time is featured in an old nursery rhyme, which I’m sure was just a way to keep poorer folks and children entertained:
Pease porridge hot,
Pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot,
Nine days old
Some like it hot,
Some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot,
Nine days old.
This dish is the poor man’s food and where people usually say that British food is bland, this dish is quite bland on its own. That is only to offset the saltiness of any ham that it is served with.
This recipe is made in the traditional way, but as time has gone on, ham hock, thyme and other aromatics can be added to the cooking peas to more flavor.