This pea soup has green beans and onions added, ‘Lange Wortes de Pesoun’ comes from the medieval manuscript ‘Harleian Manuscript 279’ written in 1430 A.D. During the Middle Ages dried peas became a staple food and in their dried form peas could be stored throughout the winter months. They were inexpensive and plentiful, and made a wholesome meal that the poor could afford.
HARLEIAN MANUSCRIPT 279 – 1430 A.D.
Lange Wortes de pesoun.
Take grene pesyn, an washe hem clene an caste hem on a potte, an boyle hem tyl þey breste, an þanne take hem vppe of þe potte, an put hem with brothe yn a-noþer potte, and lete hem kele; þan draw hem þorw a straynowre in-to a fayre potte, an þan take oynonys, and screde hem in to or þre, an take hole wortys and boyle hem in fayre water: and take hem vppe, an ley hem on a fayre bord, an cytte on .iij. or iiij., an ley hem to þe oynonys in þe potte, to þe drawyd pesyn; an let hem boyle tyl þey ben tendyr; an þanne tak fayre oyle and frye hem, or ellys sum fresche broþe of sum maner fresche fysshe, an caste þer-to, an Safron, an salt a quantyte, and serue it forth.
Lange Wortes de Pesoun Recipe
- 200g dried green peas
- 600ml water
- 1 litre vegetable stock (broth)
- 15og green beans (string beans)
- 3 onions (sliced fine)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3 saffron strands
In a saucepan put the dried green peas with the water and a little salt. Bring up to the boil and cook on a gentle simmer for 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes) partially cover the pan with a lid. After 90 minutes drain most of the water out, leave about a third. Add the vegetable stock (broth) and a few saffron strands. Put on a very gentle heat as you prepare the onions and green beans (string beans).
Clean, top and tail, and strip the tough ‘string’ on the backs of the string beans – boil them in a little water for a few minutes until tender. Drain.
In a frying pan with a little olive oil fry the fine sliced onions until tender and golden. As the onions are frying chop the string beans into pieces and add to fry alongside the onions for the last few minutes. With a slotted spoon, spoon them out of the frying pan, draining off the oil. Add them to the pea broth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Cook until everything is tender on a gentle simmer and serve.