Where do grey peas and bacon come from, why are they special and how to cook at home?

Every town, city, and country in the world has its own unique delicacy. Often its created due to specific local environments, tastes, culture and availability of vegetables.

The UK has a diverse palate, with many incredible cuisines found in every town, city, county and borough . The best to way what your local delicacy is, is to head to the local pub.

Scotland has haggis, Bolton has pasty barms and the Black Country has grey peys and bacon (basically peas and bacon).

The dish is often associated with the Black Country – a cluster of towns and cities in the West Midlands – as well as Bonfire Night and even Ash Wednesday.



The Black Country has many delicacies and ‘grey peys and bacon’ is just one of them

While they may not sound particularly special and they might not look very appealing but they’re actually quite tasty.

I remember making myself a grey peys and bacon sandwich at a friend’s Bonfire party and absolutely loved them. They were often served up in pubs and still are today – although it’s quite rare.

But if you fancy trying something new and want to give it a go then follow the simple recipe below from Marjorie Cashmore’s book ‘A Feast of Memories’.

It turns out it’s a pretty easy meal to make, here’s how to do it:

  • 1 lb dried grey peas
  • 1 large sliced onion
  • 3 oz Pearl Barley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 lb bacon

The method:

Soak the peas and pearl barley overnight.

After it has been overnight it should be much softer and easier to cook. The peas and pearl barley should then be placed in a saucepan with the onion that’s been sliced.

After that you need to brown off the bacon, either in the pan or an oven. After they have been browned they need to be chopped into small pieces – and added to the saucepan with salt and pepper. Cook on the hob slowly for three hours.

Hope you consider trying this dish out on your next bonfire night.

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