Friday, July 8, 2016

Pease Porridge (Hot or Cold) Recipe

Historical Fiction Author Janalyn Irene Voigt
This article is brought to you by Janalyn Irene Voigt.

Pease Porridge Hot and Cold

Pease porridge hot, Pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old.
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

In the pioneer kitchen, a large pot suspended over an open fire usually contained some sort of soup, and a savory porridge made of peas became a favorite. The soup would be consumed hot for the evening meal, and the leftovers cold at breakfast.

Food scraps might be added to the pot over the course of many days. Keeping the soup going like this meant that some of the ingredients could, indeed, be nine days old by the time they were eaten. Sausage or boiled bacon might be included in the soup or served on top. Pease porridge was often served with thick slices of buttered bread.
A nursery rhyme and popular singing game played by children featuring this staple of the pioneer kitchen carried into modern times.

Pease Porridge Recipe


  • 1 lb. split peas
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1/2 lb. cubed uncooked bacon
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. mint, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • water to cover
  • salt and pepper to taste
Note: You can add other vegetables and herbs for different flavors. Sage is another herb that goes well with peas.

Optional Toppings

  • fried and crumbled bacon
  • diced shallots
  • diced green onions
  • chopped mint, mint leaves, mint flowers


  1. Soak the peas according to the package directions.
  2. Drain the soaked peas.
  3. In a large pot, cover the peas with fresh water.
  4. Add the salt, pepper, carrots, bacon, and shallots.
  5. Bring the pot to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 2½ hours, adding more water as needed.
  7. Add the mint in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  8. Ladle the pease porridge into bowls and garnish with mint leaves and mint flowers, if desired.
  9. Serve this soup with optional toppings and buttered bread or rolls
  10. Enjoy!

About Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt's unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and whimsy creates breathtaking fictional worlds for readers. This multi-faceted storyteller writes in the historical fiction, romantic mystery, and epic fantasy genres. Janalyn is a history enthusiast and romantic. These elements appear in everything she writes.

Beginning with DawnSinger, the epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, carries readers into a land only imagined in dreams.

Hills of Nevermore, the first installment in Montana Gold, a historical romance series set during Montana's gold rush, releases in 2017.

Deceptive Tide (Islands of Intrigue: San Juans, book 3), the final installment in a romantic suspense series set in an island paradise off the coast of Washington state, releases August 1, 2016.


  1. Sounds good, except for the 9 days old part!!!

  2. I'm going to have to try this recipe. Stews and soups are always great for chilly days.

  3. I've heard this rhyme all of my life but never knew the story behind it. I often make huge quantities of chili and soups but I never serve them nine days later UNLESS they were frozen and then thawed for another time.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe and it's history.

  4. Just curious about the spelling of peas in the poem. Pease was my maiden name, so wondered if it had to do with the original creator of the recipe using their name!

    1. Hi, Lisa. Sorry I missed your question earlier. From what I can tell, pease was the spelling of the plural form of peas in medieval times. Here's a link for further information/research: Look under "Origin."

  5. I believe that Pease Porridge Cold referred to a polenta type dish molded from cold pea soup and eaten like polenta would be as a sort of bread under a gravy or a saute...

  6. I am a vegetarian. I tried this without the bacon. It was delicious.