Morbid Curiosity

Morbid Curiosity Monday: Green Pea Ring (Vegetarian “Friendly”)

I know this will come as a shock to many of you, but I am not perfect. [Insert astonished gasps here.] Now that you’ve had a moment to recover your senses, please allow me to tell the tale of my most recent failure”¦

I’d been looking through my old cookbook collection for a vegetarian entrée that had the same kitschy charm of a canned luncheon meat casserole or a gelatin and mayonnaise salad . It wasn’t an easy task. Anything that didn’t directly contain meat, called for chicken broth or gelatin! Then in the 300 Healthful Dairy Dishes cookbook, I found the recipe for Green Pea Ring. It has puréed peas baked into a ring mold and it is finished off with a well of creamed mushroom sauce in the center. Fantastic!

Image of Green Pea Ring from 300 Healthful Dairy Dishes (1955).
This is what it should have looked like.

Unfortunately, I made a mistake somewhere along the way”¦

Green Pea Ring - fail

So, the green pea ring didn’t survive the unmolding process. What’s even more concerning is the fact that it didn’t seem to cook all the way through. I’m not even sure where I made a mistake. The only way I altered the recipe was by cutting it in half (due to my preference for making/eating less of these creations whenever possible, and the availability of a 3-cup ring mold in my cupboard). I kept all the ratios and cooking times the same, so it still should have worked, right? Perhaps I didn’t beat the egg whites stiff enough. Perhaps it should’ve been a Pea Soufflé!

The whole thing was bland and mushy. Like, baby food mushy. And green. It was really a putrid shade of green. I think it could have been better with some better seasoning and some texture”¦ maybe some whole peas or some coarse bread crumbs.

Green Pea Ring with Creamed Mushroom Sauce
As you can see, the mushroom sauce only makes it look more appetizing.

Oh, and here’s time-saving tip: the creamed mushroom sauce is completely indistinguishable from canned cream of mushroom soup (except for some larger mushroom pieces in the former). Some people would say, “But it’s soooo much better when you make it from fresh ingredients and blah blah blah”¦” Screw it. If it’s going to taste like it came from a can, I’d rather save myself 20 minutes and just open a can.  That’s how I roll”¦ like Sandra Lee.

Green Pea Ring
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
1½ cups milk
1 cup puréed cooked green peas
2 eggs, separated
½ teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
1 recipe Creamed Mushrooms

Melt butter and blend in flour;  add milk and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in puréed peas, beaten egg yolks, salt and pepper. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold lightly but thoroughly into mixture. Turn into buttered (6-cup) ring mold and bake in moderate oven (325° F) for 45 to 50 minutes. Loosen sides and turn out on large platter. Pour creamed mushrooms in center and serve immediately. Serves 5 or 6.

Creamed Mushrooms
1 pound fresh mushrooms
1½ cups milk
½ teaspoon grated onion
¾ teaspoon salt
Dash white pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour

Wash and slice mushrooms and cook in 1 cup of the milk with onion, salt, pepper and butter for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Blend flour with remaining milk until smooth and add to boiling mixture, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened. Serve in center of hot pea ring. Serves 4 to 6.

300 Healthful Dairy Dishes (Volume No. 18 of The Encyclopedia of Cooking) was published by the Culinary Arts Institute in 1955.

By Jen R. L. Disarray

Jen was once described as a "culinary anthropologist". She liked that. When she is not making questionable foods, Jen enjoys reading, sassing, and lurking all over the internet. Jen has a blog called Maybe We Shouldn't Be Eating This, and she is a contributor to the Geekquality podcast and blog.

13 replies on “Morbid Curiosity Monday: Green Pea Ring (Vegetarian “Friendly”)”

If you want to make something vegetarian friendly but it has chicken broth you can replace it with vegetable broth, and you can replace gelatin with agar-agar! Eggs with egg replacers like bananas, avocado, or Enger-G Egg Replacer.

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