Thick Pea Soup

From Harleian MS 4016 (Two Fifteenth Century Cookbooks)


Take grene pesyn̄, and boile hem in a potte; And whan they ben y-broke, drawe the broth a good quantite thorgh a streynour into a potte, And sitte hit on the fire; and take oynons and parcelly, and hewe hem small togidre, And caste hem thereto; And take pouder of Canell and peper, and caste thereto, and lete boile; And take vynegur and pouder of ginger, and caste thereto; And then take Saffron and salte, a litull quantite, and caste thereto; And take faire peces of paynmain, or elles of such tendur brede, and kutte hit yn fere mosselles, and caste there-to; And then serue hit so forth.

Thick pea soup

Take green peas and boil them in a pot. And when they break open, draw it through a strainer into a pot and simmer. Add to that chopped onions and parsley, cinnamon, pepper, and let simmer. Add vinegar, powdered ginger, saffron, and a little salt. [Add fine bread torn into small pieces and serve.] (Note: the soup is plenty thick and doesn’t need any bread in my experience, so omitted from my recipe below for an allergen-free dish.)


1 lb. whole dried peas (see note)
4 c. water
½ c. chopped onion
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. parsley (chopped fine)
1 ½ Tbsp cinnamon
4 long pepper
¼ c. cider vinegar
1 tsp. ground ginger
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste (optional)
Generous pinch saffron

Simmer peas in water according to the package directions. When soft, mash in a pot with a potato masher or immersion blender, until desired texture is reached. Sweat onions in olive oil to soften the taste, and add to the soup. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until desired taste is reached.

Note: Dried peas need the touch of sugar noted in the recipe. You can also use frozen peas, which are sweeter. Split peas convey an entirely different flavor to the dish, not entirely complementary to this spice mixture.

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