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Lancashire Black Peas and Vinegar Recipe


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These tasty black peas with vinegar are a treat in the North of England and served traditionally on Bonfire Night, which is November 5th.  Family and friends will gather around the bonfire to celebrate the failed plot of Guy Fawkes to blow up parliament in 1605. As it is (usually) a cold, often wet, night these peas are more than welcome to help warm up cold tummies.

The cooked, slightly thickened and mushy peas once cooked, are sprinkled with malt vinegar. A very special treat.

The peas are similar in style to the Yorkshire dish of mushy peas, which on Bonfire night would be served with warm pie, and also served year-round with the national dish of fish and chips.



Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Soak overnight: 12 hours

Total Time: 14 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6 portions of peas.


  • 500g dried black peas**
  • Pinch bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced thickly
  • 1 stick celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Salt
  • Malt Vinegar


  • Rinse the peas under cold, running water. Place in a large stock pot, or roomy saucepan. Add the bicarbonate of soda and cover with fresh, cold water. Cover the pan and leave the peas to soak overnight.
  • The next day, drain the peas in a colander and return to the same pan.  Cover with fresh, cold water. Add the carrot, celery and onion. Bring the peas to a boil and once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for 2 - 3 hours, until the peas are soft and slightly mushy. Stir the peas from time to time during cooking to prevent them sticking on the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the peas are cooked and starting to break up, remove the pan from the heat. Then either...
  • If you like your peas and vinegar as a smooth purée (lovely if you want to serve as a side dish), push the cooked peas and vegetables through a coarse sieve to remove the skins of the peas. This will take some effort but the end result is worth it.
  • Or, to eat as street food or by the bonfire on Guy Fawkes night,  do not purée.
  • Whichever style you prefer, taste the peas and add salt to taste. Finally, sprinkle with malt vinegar, again to your taste. Serving to friends on Bonfire night, offer the peas round and a bottle of vinegar for your guests to add as they wish.


Add a small knob of salted butter to the cooked beans.

Stir in cooked, crisp, streaky bacon bits, and or fresh, finely chopped mint.

** Black peas are also known as Black Badger peas and as carlin or maple peas. In the US, use pigeon peas, or even black-eyed peas and cook as above.  Whichever you use, they will be great and you will be glad you did standing around the bonfire, in the pouring rain!





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