I love old school cooking, and recently started exploring the use of legumes in alcohol fermentation. Theoretically, they should be a good addition, and I found that in fact, beans and peas, malted or not, were used in beer making way back in the past. That led me onto other tangents, and soon I came across one of those words I’ve seen in books but never much thought about, Peasemeal. This is, literally, meal ground from roasted peas, which was a staple food in Scotland for ages. Over time, it appears that peasemeal became associated with poverty and fell out of favor, but for centuries, the hardy Scots would grind up roasted yellow peas to make puddings and bannocks, a kind of flat bread.
I was fascinated, and armed with my spice mill (affiliate link, but seriously, that thing is awesome), I set out to roast up some dried green split peas I had in my pantry. This is probably decidedly not a traditional approach, but I’m loving the results.
I cooled them in the fridge before grinding, and they looked like this. The aromatics here are really nice. I wouldn’t describe it as malty or coffee-like, but it’s a green roasty aroma that even my wife said was pleasant.
From there, I turned them into flour in my spice mill. With this batch, I soaked them overnight in cold water with yogurt and a splash of jun. There was a bit of bubbling in the morning, but the peasemeal hadn’t really hydrated properly, so I added in coconut flour until it was a dough consistency, then baked them at 350 for about 15 minutes.
The result was a delicious breakfast biscuit or scone. Hearty, chewy, with a rich flavor that complemented a nice pat of butter and a hot cup of coffee.
Since then, I’ve used peasemeal in a chicken soup, which thickened up beautifully and became truly toothsome, another wonderful word that seems to originate in that part of the world. This morning, I made pease pudding, which involves pouring boiling water into the peasemeal “until your spoon stands up” (mine was more watery), then seasoning with various things. I used salt, yogurt, and butter. Apparently bacon or ham is a traditional addition in pease pudding’s home region.
Apparently peasemeal and pea flour are making comebacks. If you have pets eating high end diets, you might notice pea protein as one of the gluten-free ingredients, and though the last mill making peasemeal in Scotland went out of business in 1970, production has begun anew in recent years and foodie chefs in Edinburgh and Glasgow are creating modern takes on classic Scottish dishes with the stuff.
I’ll be playing with peasemeal a lot more. It tastes great, has a texture that really appeals to me, and hits all my “old recipes come to life” buttons in a big way. Hooray for peas!