Parched peas, also known in Lancashire as black peas, are a traditional treat in the North of England, especially when served on Bonfire Night on November 5th. Family and friends will gather around the bonfire to celebrate the failed plot of Guy Fawkes to overthrow the government and blow up Parliament in 1605. As it is usually a cold and often wet night, this pea dish, which is cooked and served with vinegar, is a more than welcome way to help warm up cold tummies.
Soak the Peas
Gather the ingredients.
Rinse the peas in a colander under cold, running water.
Place in a large pot. Add the baking soda and cover with cold water. Cover, and leave the peas to soak overnight.
Cook the Peas
Gather the ingredients.
Drain the peas in a colander and return to the same pot.
Cover with fresh, cold water. Add the carrot, celery, and onion.
Cover and bring the peas to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium, and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, until the peas are soft and slightly mushy. Stir the peas from time to time during cooking to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Once the peas are cooked and starting to break up, remove the pan from the heat. Taste the peas, and add salt and a sprinkle of malt vinegar, to taste. Serve with additional malt vinegar.
- In the United Kingdom, black peas are also known as Black Badger peas and as carlin or maple peas. In the United States, use pigeon peas, or even black-eyed peas and cook as directed. Whichever you use, they will be great and you will be glad you did when you are standing around the bonfire, in the pouring rain—or even if you are just eating them on a cold afternoon or rainy evening in your own home.
How to Store and Freeze Lancashire Black Peas and Vinegar
Cooked Lancashire peas will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze this cooked dish for up to 3 months. Place the peas in a plastic zip-close bag and seal tightly, or in a covered container that won't permit any freezer burn. Defrost on the stovetop over medium-low heat or the microwave.
- Add a small knob of salted butter to the cooked beans.
- Stir in cooked, crisp, streaky bacon bits, and or fresh, finely chopped mint.
- If you like your peas and vinegar as a smooth purée (lovely if you want to serve as a side dish), push the cooked peas and vegetables through a coarse sieve to remove the skins of the peas. This will take some effort, but the end result is worth it.