a peek inside the fishbowl

23 Sep, 2011

Will they eat it: Pease porridge, er, pea soup

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Recipes and Food

Do you remember this little rhyme?

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.

I’ve never really thought about it before today, but according to Wikipedia, the rhyme refers to a type of porridge made from peas, pease pudding, also known as pease pottage (in Middle English).

I like pea soup. Hot. And for the record, I definitely don’t like it when it’s been sitting around for nine days. Ha ha.

Did you know that pea soup was a staple meal for sea-faring folks once upon a time? Ease of storage must have been a big reason for this, but it also doesn’t take much to make something out of them. A few cups of peas, an old onion, some water and a ham hock can make a great dinner for a shipload of pirates. Arrrrgh matey, think of the fibrrrrrre!

I was in the grocery store when I had a sudden hankering for split pea soup, but I’ve been leery since the last time I tried to make it. So I gave myself a pep talk, made a mid-aisle U-turn, and checked all the packages of dried peas for one with a recipe on the back.

Here is the result:

Pea soup

The recipe is a little bit non-traditional, not like the soupe aux pois commes les habitants, but it’s cheap and makes a good hearty lunch. And it’s very easy. I added a bit of cooked bacon to it (otherwise it would have been totally vegetarian), and it was good, but I think the next time I make pea soup I’m going to add some sausage and really kick it up a notch.

Here’s the recipe I used:

Pea Soup for Pirates

1 large minced onion
1 minced clove of garlic
1 cup dried split green peas
6 cups of water
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp celery salt
black pepper to taste
1 shredded carrot
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot, saute onions and garlic until softened. Add cumin and stir it in, heating until fragrant. Add the celery salt, pepper, peas, and water. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat, leave covered and simmer 60-90 minutes until they’re tender. Add the grated carrot and parsley and simmer another 15 minutes. Serve to your hungry pirates before they set out for the seven seas.

Got a recipe to recommend? I’m all ears.

p.s. OF COURSE THE KIDS DIDN’T EAT IT. Silly rabbits. But they tried it. Which is good. And I’m ok with that.

12 Responses to "Will they eat it: Pease porridge, er, pea soup"

1 | Dave

September 23rd, 2011 at 8:58 am


I will make this for sure next week. Thanks!

2 | Catherine

September 23rd, 2011 at 9:07 am


That`s almost exactly the recipe I use except I never thought to add parsley. I make mine in a pressure cooker in under 30 minutes. My girls, 1 and 4 yo, love it. It`s my go to recipe especially in the cooler months.
At least it freezes and you can bring some out just for you.

3 | Valerie

September 23rd, 2011 at 10:26 am


I have one I make in the slow cooker. The kids aren’t keen on it but will eat a bit. DH and I love it. I’ll send you the recipe via e-mail.

4 | AKsKitchen

September 23rd, 2011 at 11:14 am


I can’t wait to try this. I have a ham bone in my freezer to throw in. Cumin is so so healthy. thanks for the inspiration.

5 | binki

September 23rd, 2011 at 1:34 pm


Cumin in pea soup??? Tabarouette!

6 | Chantal

September 23rd, 2011 at 2:19 pm


I made the soup last time you posted the recipe and loved it. Thanks for the reminder. I pinned the recipe on facebook so I can make it again. I have a ham bone in the freezer just waiting for some soup making :)

7 | Javamom

September 23rd, 2011 at 2:40 pm


What a perfect idea for such a gloomy rainy day today (here in Toronto)…

We make it in the crockpot, sometimes with a turkey leg thrown in (or a ham) or sometimes just like you did with some bacon bits.

8 | Marianne

September 24th, 2011 at 9:39 pm


It looks super tasty to me. My 4 year old will do anything for soup, pea soup included. I’ve personally never ventured away from the canned version… might need to give it a try since she loves to help out.

9 | Catherine

September 25th, 2011 at 8:25 pm


Marianne. You have to try and make it. There is nothing like home made pea soup. The canned stuff doesn’t do it justice. Make sure you eat it with some nice bread.

10 | vanessa

September 26th, 2011 at 4:19 pm


i will try cumin in mine next time – and suggest you tr yenglish marrowfat mushy peas they are equally if not more questionable

11 | Maranda

September 27th, 2011 at 8:51 am


Looks yummy, and I like the addition of the cumin and carrots. Might also be good with lentils instead of peas.

Bookmarked, thanks!

12 | Chris

October 3rd, 2011 at 6:13 pm


Pea soup is great! I find adding a bit of vinegar (malt, red wine) at the end is a good thing; it brightens things up. Also, drizzling toasted sesame oil on top (in the bowl) is really good. That’s what I used to do when I made pea soup without meat — the sesame oil makes up for some of the flavours you’d otherwise get from ham or a smoked meat of some kind.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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