Green peas are a vegetable I often cook when I’m uninspired, so I was intrigued when I came across a recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook for Green Peas Maitre d’Hotel. It sounded so fancy – and suggested that a boring vegetable could be really special. So I decided to give the recipe a try. The peas are immersed in butter, chopped mint leaves, and lemon juice.
The verdict: Green Peas Maitre d’Hotel were nice with a hint of mint, but the mint taste was very mild and nuanced; and I was a little disappointed that the peas in this recipe seemed very similar to just plain peas.
A few recipes in the 1921 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book have French names. One of those recipes is Macedoine of Vegetables a la Poulette. After googling the words in the name, I think that it roughly translates into cut vegetables in a creamy sauce. In any case, this is a nice recipe for an attractive vegetable mixture containing matchstick-sized pieces of carrots and turnips, as well as peas, in a rich sauce made with chicken broth and cream.
1/2 cup turnips cut into matchstick-sized pieces (about 1 medium turnip)
1 1/4 cups carrots cut into matchstick-sized pieces (about 3 medium carrots)
1 1/4 cups peas
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup cream
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
Cook each of the vegetables (carrots, turnips, peas) in a separate pan; cover each vegetable with water (add salt to water if desired), bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until tender. Drain vegetables.
In the meantime, melt butter in another pan. Stir the flour into the butter. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in chicken broth and cream, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the vegetables. Reheat until the sauce comes back to a boil while stirring gently. While continuing to gently stir, add lemon juice and egg yolks. If desired, add salt and pepper to taste. When the added ingredients are combined into the sauce, remove from heat and serve.
I recently came across a nice vegetarian recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook. Macaroni and Green Peas can be served as either an entree or a side dish. The dish is vegetarian (not vegan, since cream coats the macaroni and peas). The cream adds flavor and richness to the dish.
The source of this recipe, The New Cookery cookbook, contains nutrition information for each recipe. This is the only hundred-year-old cookbook that I’ve ever seen with this much information.
This recipe didn’t make very much- and according to the nutrition information – the entire recipe only contains 604 calories. The old cookbook indicated that the serving size was 4 ounces which seems small for this type of dish. In my opinion, if this recipe was made as the main dish, there would be enough for 1 generous serving. If it was served as a side dish, it would make enough for 2 servings.
1/2 cup green peas (fresh, frozen, or canned) – I used frozen peas. I put them in boiling water until they were hot, then removed from heat and drained.
1/2 cup light cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat water in a saucepan to boiling; add the macaroni and cook 7-9 minutes until al dente. Remove from the heat and drain. Add a little cold water, then drain again. Add cream, peas, and salt; return to stove. Using medium heat, bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes until the cream thickens into a sauce while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve.
Sometimes I think that peas are a boring and blasé food; but there are a couple of weeks each year when fresh garden peas are available at the farmers’ market, and that’s a totally different story. Fresh peas are a to-die-for sweet, yet delicate, taste sensation – and lovely when served in a traditional “cream” sauce that is made using milk.
I dug out my hundred-year-old cookbooks, and found this recipe for Creamed Peas.
The Creamed Peas were lovely and the simple sauce enhanced the subtle flavors of the tender peas. The dish was simultaneously an easy-to-make, but almost elegant food, and a delightful comfort food.
Put the flour in a cup or small bowl, and gradually stir in the 2 tablespoons of milk to make a smooth paste. Set aside.
Put the peas into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the peas, then pour 1/2 cup of milk over the peas. Return to the heat and using a medium heat bring the milk to a boil. Quickly, but gently, stir in the flour paste. Cook the creamed peas for a few seconds while continuing to stir until the milk mixture thickens. Remove from heat and serve.
I was surprised that the recipe author didn’t make a white sauce that was poured over the peas, but instead covered the peas with milk, heated it, and then stirred in a flour paste to thicken it. Maybe she was trying to minimize the number of pans on the stove. I made the recipe using the flour paste, but it would work fine to make the white sauce separately.