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Creamed Peas in Béchamel

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Creamed Peas in Creamed Peas in Béchamel is a classic summer dish and has been a staple comfort food in the homes of many for years, whether in the United States or the United Kingdom. Creamed Peas on Toast is a fond culinary memory for those who grew up in Depression-era homes — but it still makes a quick, easy and delicious spring side dish today!

Side view of Creamed Peas in a transferware serving dish.

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A History of Creamed Peas

For Downton Abbey fans, Mrs. Patmore would have served it as “a simple classic dish of Peas in Béchamel. It can be served upstairs as a side dish or downstairs as Creamed Peas on Toast.”

Béchamel Sauce is simply a beautiful name for a basic white sauce used as a soup base, soufflés, or to enhance peas, asparagus points, or spinach. Made from a simple roux of flour, boiled milk, and butter, it’s usually served with white meat, eggs, or vegetables.

Cream sauces were set aside for the privileged in the 17th and 18th centuries, as explained here.

“As the housewife in the 17th Century did not have the luxury of modern refrigeration, they were wary of using milk in their recipes.  Peddlers were known to sell watered down or rancid produce.  Basically, only the rich or royalty could use milk in their sauces.”

Ingredients

The ingredient measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but here is a quick list of what you need to make this iconic and nostalgic side dish.

  • Butter: Either salted or unsalted
  • Chopped shallots (or green onions if you prefer)
  • Dried tarragon (or fresh if you are fortunate enough to have some available!)
  • Peas: You can use frozen green peas that are thawed, or fresh shelled peas
  • Mustard: coarse-ground mustard is best
  • Sour cream and whole milk for the béchamel sauce, plus a pinch of salt to taste!

This 10 minute recipe is easy to make, beautiful to serve, and delicious to enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t like tarragon, do any other herbs work in this recipe?

Lots of flat leaf parsley would be a good substitute, or even dill. Don’t be tempted to add mint even though it usually goes so well with peas as it is less good with the creamy sauce.

Can I make these creamed peas ahead?

They’re best eaten as soon as they’re made, but you can make béchamel up to 3 days ahead and store it in the refrigerator — be sure that a piece of plastic food wrap is touching the surface of the sauce to stop a skin forming.

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Side view of Creamed Peas in a transferware serving dish.

Creamed Peas or Peas in Béchamel

Creamed Peas is a classic summer dish and has been a staple comfort food in the homes of many for years, whether in the United States or the United Kingdom. Creamed Peas on Toast is a fond culinary memory for those who grew up in Depression-era homes.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons dried tarragon
  • 1 pound frozen green peas thawed
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons coarse-ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup whole milk

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and tarragon, and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add peas, water, mustard, salt, sour cream, and milk, stirring until smooth and creamy.
  • Cook until peas are heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Notes

Adapted from a recipe that first appeared in Victoria Magazine in October 2009.

Nutrition

Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 493mg | Potassium: 315mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 856IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: creamed peas

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