Basics and sides

Petits pois à la Française

This dish has no written history. It is a classic French side dish, and could even be eaten as a lunch in its own right. The recipe we have given here is essentially that of Raymond Blanc, wo penned it in his popular book Simple French Cookery. Petits pois à la Française is ideal as an accompaniment to sauté and fricassee dishes, and as a side for Sunday lunch.

Petits pois à la Française

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By Raymond Blanc Serves: 4
Cooking Time: 25 mins


  • 20 small pearl or pickling onions
  • 50g smoked bacon lardons
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 200ml water
  • 3 pinched of sugar
  • 400g frozen peas
  • 1 gem lettuce, separated into leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper



Heat the butter ion a saucepan and add the bacon and onions. Soften on a low heat for 2–3 mins without colouring.


Add the water, sugar and seasoning. Bring to the boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 15–20 mins until the onions are soft but not breaking down.


Turn up the heat, add the peas and lettuce, and cook uncovered for 1–2 mins.


Adjust seasoning and serve.


Drop the bacon to make the original, as technically, this is 'petits pois au lard.' Swap the lettuce for wild garlic in the season. Tinned peas are perfectly fine for this too.

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