Sunday, 15 November 2015

Lancashire Black Peas

When I was a little girl, I used to love a bowl of black peas with lots of bread to mop up the juices. My grandfather was a grocer and Mum and Grandma could buy their dried black peas from him, but sadly he passed away in 1959 when I was only about 4 years old, and no other shop in the small town sold them, so they became a very rare treat, only available at what my brother used to call the "Second hand food stall" and would probably now be viewed as a health food stall, in Wigan market.  And after I married and moved "darn sarf" in the 1970s, I couldn't get hold of them at all.

We didn't just eat them at home; until I was about 5 the travelling funfair that visited the town once a year always had a black peas stall to eat piping hot as you walked around the fair, and when I was in my teens, a couple of quite smart restaurants started serving them, either as a starter to a main meal, or on their own with a barmcake (a local type of flattish bread roll) as a light meal.

But for many, many years black peas have been a thing of the past for me. That was, until I discovered "Black Badger" peas on sale at Hodmedods   and decided to give them a try. However, having been a tiny tot when I last saw them cooked, I didn't have a clue what to do with them. I asked my Mum, but she is almost 90 years old and getting very vague, and she said "I think we used to cook them with a ham hock". So I tried that, but of course the salt from the ham meant that however long I cooked them for, the beans remained tough and inedible. Luckily I'd only used half the pack, for the two of us, so this time I tried again without ham, and I decided to try cooking them in the slow cooker, a luxury my gran didn't have. This time they were just right - I cooked a half pack, 250g, but really while you have the slow cooker on, you might as well do the whole bag and make a sustaining supper for 4!

First of all soak the peas overnight in plenty of water. Rinse and drain and put in the slow cooker with 1 litre of boiling water. Cook on Auto for 6-8 hours, or on High until boiling then on Low for the remaining time.

Serve Lancashire style, in bowls with lots of salt and a good shake of malt vinegar. Bread to mop up the juices is essential - as I love onions with pulses I made some crusty onion bread.

I haven't seen the My Legume Love Affair challenge before - very remiss of me - this month is it hosted by Herbs, Spices and Tradition  along with Food and Spice and The Well Seasoned Cook

And as you can produce a filling, tasty dish for 4 for under £2, I'm also joining in with Credit Crunch Munch at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary with Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All.

This month's Slow Cooked Challenge   with Farmersgirl Kitchen and Baking Queen 74 is meat-free, and now we've established that ham hock isn't the way to go, this is definitely meat free so I'm joining in there too.

The Slow Cooked Challenge


Fab Food 4 All said...

What a lovely wholesome and tasty meal idea and I love hearing about family cooking traditions. Thank you for another great entry into #CreditCrunchMunch Jane:-)

Janice said...

I've never heard of black peas, but I will look out for them. My gran used to make the dried marrowfat peas and serve them in vinegar, with chips, we called them bullets! They were tasty though.

Claire Toplis said...

Glad I gave you the link now

Herbs Spices and Tradition said...

Thanks very much for sharing your recipe and nice story with My Legume Love affair. I also make them in curry form with lots of Indian spices in it. I call them blackpeas.

Check my post of Chhole, which is white chickpeas-

Herbs Spices and Tradition said...

Please come and see the roundup of MLLA.

Elizabeth said...

MMmm those beans with that bread, that would have been one fantastic meal! Thanks for sharing with Credit Crunch Munch :)

Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours said...

Lovely beans! I am a huge fan of Hodmedods, a belated thank you for linking up to Credit Crunch Munch.