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Petits Pois aux Morilles
(Ragout of Peas and Morels)



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Petits Pois aux Morilles
(Ragout of Peas and Morels)

Saveur Cooks Authentic French

by the Editors of Saveur Magazine, 1999, Chronicle Books


The Novelty of Petits Pois

“Peas were eaten in France as long ago as the seventh century B.C., in the Languedoc, where archeologists have found them fossilized in the debris left
by early inhabitants. They don’t seem to have entered serious French gastro-
nomy, though, until around 1600, when the pois mange-tout, or sugar pea,
arrived from Holland. And the green pea, or petit pois as we know it today
dates only from 1660 in France. In January of that year, one Sieur Audiger,
sent to Italy on a confidential mission by Louis XIV, returned from Genoa to
present his monarch with a hamper of them. Audiger recorded the response
of the courtiers who ‘all declared with one voice that nothing could be more
of a novelty, and that nothing like it, in that season, had ever been seen in
France before’. The peas were shelled and prepared for the Court – whose
delight was such that the pea became the most fashionable of vegetables.”

Serves 4

“Canned peas? The French actually prefer them for the traditional
preparation of petits pois with lettuce; three-quarters of the French
pea crop, in fact, ends up in cans. For this springtime ragout, however,
only fresh peas will do.”

12 small dried morels
12 pearl onions
2 tablespoons butter
8 whole small carrots,
peeled and trimmed
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup shelled fresh peas
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Wash morels under running water and trim root ends from onions. Bring
4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add morels and onions,
cover, and remove from heat. After 1 minute, remove onions with a
slotted spoon. Replace cover and soak morels until soft, about 10
minutes. Peel onions.
2. Remove morels from water with a slotted spoon and rinse well, reserving soaking liquid. Pour soaking liquid through a sieve lined with a coffee filter
and return to saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook
until liquid is reduced to 1 cup, about 20 minutes.
3. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots and cook
until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low,
add onions, sugar, and 1/2 cup water, and simmer until liquid evapor-
ates, about 15 minutes. Add morels and morel stock, cover, and cook
for 7 minutes more. Add peas and cook for 5 minutes more. Season
to taste with salt and pepper.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Sautéed Morels with Goat Cheese,
Spinach, and Beet Vinaigrette

Spring Peas 'n' Lettuce and
Sweet Peas and New Potatoes


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