A popular classic from North East England, Ham and Pease Pudding is a cheap, easy and delicious one-pot recipe to have in your back pocket. Peppery golden Pease Pudding – also known as Geordie Caviar – is the perfect accompaniment to home-cooked ham…
I’ve written before about how I acquire recipes and food inspiration when I travel and go on holiday. As a Yorkshire-man in Tyne and Wear – albeit not exiled across a huge geographic distance – I feel I can just about include this in one of my travel acquired recipe repertoire.
Pease Pudding is a North East institution. When I first moved here, people would recoil in horror when I would admit that I had never tasted it. I partly put my naivety down to the fact that I had been a vegetarian for many years and Pease Pudding goes together with ham like Newcastle and the Toon Army or Gateshead and the Angel of the North.
Despite Pease Pudding’s nickname as “Geordie Caviar”, I resisted trying the national dish of my adopted homeland for several years. Even when my much-loved late Aunt would wax lyrical about its virtues, I held firm. It began to become part of who I was – the boy who hasn’t eaten Pease Pudding and refuses to watch Love Island.
All that changed a few years ago. Finally bowing to immense peer pressure, I agreed to try a teaspoon of the golden yellow paste. And you know what? To my surprise, I quite liked it! Reminiscent of a comfortingly thick lentil soup, it is quite the thing when spread thickly to sandwich a wedge of stottie bread with some homemade ham.
Pease Pudding is readily available from the deli counters in most supermarkets, although the flavour varies considerably. To my mind, the best one comes from Nicholson’s Butchers in Whitley Bay where they enrich their recipe with ham stock and a generous peck of pepper. I discovered their version when it was profiled on the Great British Menu tv show a few years ago and it is theses flavours which have inspired my own recipe.
Delicious taste aside, I love how cheap and easy it is to make this recipe. Smoked gammon joints are readily available from most butchers and supermarkets, where a cut of 1.4KG will cost £5-6. The Yellow Split Peas are currently 55p for 500g in the supermarkets, while the rest of the ingredients are also very cheap and readily available. The quantities here result in a medium sized cooked ham and a big batch of Pease Pudding, the latter of which I then portion up and freeze until required. Everything is made in the same pot with nothing going to waste – truly frugal and clever cooking.
My recipe amplifies the golden yellow tones of the Pease Pudding with the addition of Turmeric, Mustard Powder and a few saffron threads. Not only does this result in a beautiful golden colour to the pudding, but it also tinges the edges of the ham to give a lovely glow to the meat.Print
- 500g dried split yellow peas
- 1400g Smoked Gammon Joint
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1 medium onion
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1tsp ground white pepper
- 1tsp dried thyme
- 1tsp turmeric
- 1tsp mustard powder
- Pinch saffron threads
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp mixed spice (I use my Pumpkin Spice Mix)
- Salt (at the end to taste)
- Around 2litres of cold water – or enough to cover the meat in the pan.
- Traditionally, dried yellow split peas would be soaked overnight in cold water. I, however, skip this step by putting the peas into a bowl and covering with boiling water from the kettle and leaving to soak for 20 minutes. This does the same thing only in much less time.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. While the peas are soaking, peel the carrots and onion and dice together with the celery sticks into 1cm cubes. When the peas are ready, strain them and mix together with the prepared veg. Tip them all into a large oven-proof pan or dish (I use my larges 5 Litre cast iron pan) before making a well in the centre to accommodate the gammon joint.
- Remove all the wrappings from the gammon and sit it in the middle of vegetables in the pan. Measure 1 litre of cold water and mix in the pepper, dried herbs and spices (I use my Pumpkin Spice Mix in place of the Mixed Spices and find that they work well here). Pour this golden liquid over the top of the gammon and top up with more cold water, making sure that the meat is just submerged.
- Place the pan on the hob and heat over a medium heat. When the liquid is simmering, clamp on the lid and move everything into the oven to cook for two hours – carefully turning the meat over half way through to make sure that the exposed part of the mest doesn’t dry out during cooking as the liquid evaporates.
- When the cooking time is up, carefully remove the pan from the oven before gently lifting the ham out of the liquid. Loosely wrap the meat in foil and place to one side to rest and fully cool down.
- Give the vegetables and liquid in the pan a good stir before carefully placing the hot pan over a medium-high heat on the stove (ladle the vegetable mixture into a clean pan if you have baked the meat in a lidded oven dish). Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and stir regularly for the next 20-30 minutes. You want to evaporate off some of the liquid and reduce the stock down a little – although it will remain loose until it has fully cooled down.
- Using a stick blender, blitz the vegetables and stock to form a smooth past. At this point, you should taste and add some salt if required. Line a medium roasting tin with a sheet of greaseproof paper – making sure it rises up the sides of the tin too. Pour the golden Pease Pudding into the tin before pressing another sheet of greaseproof paper down so that it sits on top of the mix. Allow to come to room temperature for about an hour before transferring to the fridge to fully chill and set. When fully cold and solidified, portion up and wrap in some papers and foil before freezing.
- Pease Pudding is best served when spread thickly across a wedge of stottie cake (a dense, traditional North East bread) and topped with slices of the ham. The cooked ham and Pease Pudding will keep well, covered in the fridge for around a week. The extra portions of Pease Pudding can be frozen and thawed out when required.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Category: Ham, Pease Pudding,
- Cuisine: British
Keywords: Homecooked Ham, Ham, Pease Pudding, Geordie Comfort Food, Geordie Caviar, Geordie food, Geordie Pate, Newcastle Food, Gateshead Food, North East England, Easy Recipe, Easy meal, Cheap meal, Cheap recipe, Traditional food, Ham and Pease Pudding Stottie, One pot cooking, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Northumberland, Durham