The recipe is taken from ms KANTL Gent 15, second part. Edition: W.L. Braekman, Een nieuw zuidnederlands kookboek uit de vijftiende eeuw. Scripta 17, Brussel, 1986, recipe nr 92 (edition p.53). About this manuscript.
The erweijten (peas) in this recipe can mean either green peas or marrow fat (or field) peas. The liquid in which peas were boiled was frequently used during Lent as a replacement of meat broth. This recipe can also be found in Een notabel boecxken van cokerijen (recipe nr.152, ‘Om pareye te maken’). In that version the boiling liquid of the peas is thickened with bread crumbs. During Lent raisins are added to the soup.
The expression puree may be confusing. It would seem to mean ‘something mashed’, but from “pureye van herweten […] dat claer is” (“Puree of peas […] that is clear”, in a recipe for pike in ms UB Gent 476) it appears that the liquid is strained. However, because in the Notabel boecxken the pea soup is thickened (albeit with bread crumbs) I have chosen to leave the peas in the soup.
Neemet puereije van erweijten als zij op haer breken zijn, ende laet dat zeer zieden te voren alleen, ende dan doet men daerin onioene, ende olije te samen gebert, ende daerna nemet comijn, sofferaen, ende vrijft dat ontwee, ende slaet duer een stamijn metter pureijen, ende laet dat naesieden.
Take liquid of peas when they start to break, and let that boil well with nothing added. Then one adds onions and oil, fried together. Then take cumin and saffron and grind this. Strain through a sieve with the liquid, and let is simmer.
Modern adaptation of the recipe
The recipe is so simple that an adaptation is hardly necessary. But I have provided one anyway.
For 4 persons; preparation 60 minutes.
250 gr(1¼ cup) green peas, split peas or field peas
2 onions, chopped
2 Tbsp oil
½ tsp saffron
1 tl cumin powder
1 liter water
Cook the peas in the water until nearly done. Fry the onion in oil and add to the pan with the peas. Steep saffron in a tablespoon hot water and bruise them to release the colour. Add cumin powder to the saffron water. Add the spices to the peas and purée the soup. Before serving, bring to the boil. Or strain the cooked peas from the soup (use them in another dish) and add dried bread crumbs to thicken the soup.
The editions below were used by me. Links refer to available editions.
- W.L. Braekman, Een nieuw zuidnederlands kookboek uit de vijftiende eeuw. Scripta 17, Brussel, 1986 (vols two and three). Online edition with English translation by Christianne Muusers.
- R. Jansen-Sieben and M. van der Molen Willebrands, Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen. Het eerste gedrukte Nederlandstalige kookboek circa 1514 uitgegeven te Brussel door Thomas Vander Noot. (‘A remarkable little book of cookery’) Amsterdam, 1994. (Internet edition).
Medieval pea soup