Petits pois a la Francaise is a classic French way to prepare peas, braising them with onions and lettuce. Bring your spoon to the table; you will not regret it.

The flavors are simple to the ingredients but incredibly delicious. This peas side dish goes well with so many meats and, of course, poultry.

Petits Pois A La Francaise

I was raised eating peas, and my dad used to make them every way he could. This recipe has always been his favorite, and I am surprised it is taking me this long to share it with all of you.

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There are a few versions of petits pois a la Francaise, and this one is the closest to the original. The only difference is that I had no small onions at the house, only shallots. I decided to use them instead of making another trip to the store. I am sure you can relate to that.

Imagine biting into a soft, rich-in-flavor spoonful of peas that are surrounded by a perfectly creamy sauce. I do not do them justice, so please try them and share how you would describe them.

And to make the record straight, there are no bacon pieces in the Petits Pois a La Francaise. That is an entirely different recipe – Petits Pois a la Bonne-Femme. The recipe will come soon.

In this Article

Why you will love this recipe

Easy to prepare – once all your ingredients are in the saucepan, you can concentrate on the other items on your menu for dinner.

Cost-effective – most ingredients are already in your pantry and refrigerator.

Super delicious – Once you try this recipe, you will always return to it—tender and rich in flavor.

Benefits and origin of peas

Peas are highly nourishing vegetables and are rich in vitamins A, B, and C and zinc.

The plant is native to the Mediterranean region, and traces have been found in the Middle East.

Europeans introduced crops to the New World and other areas throughout the world.

Petits Pois A La Francaise on a white serving dish

Ingredients needed to make this petits pois a la Francaise

Peas – frozen work beautifully here. But if you can use fresh one this summer, do not hesitate.

Boston lettuce – lettuce of choice; do not substitute.

Bouquet garni – You can go two ways here: fresh herbs or dry ones already in a cheesecloth packet. With this recipe, I decided to use the pre-made one. In the recipe card, you will find the ingredients needed.

Unsalted butter – It is a French recipe after all, of course, there will be butter 🤩. I always use unsalted butter in my cooking or baking to control the amount of sodium. Salted butter not only adds too much salt to your dish, but it changes the flavor.

Shallot – the same wonderful mild, almost sweet flavor of small white onions when cooked. Chopped them into not-too-large chunks.

Granulated sugar – neutralizes the acidity of the onions and permits a mild sauce to form.

Cold water – to steam the peas when cooking.

Salt and pepper – the only seasoning you will need.

Chervil or parsley – optional but flavorful if you choose to use.

Petits Pois A La Francaise ingredients

Equipment Needed

Please follow the link to access the product of your preference.

Heavy bottom 3-quart enamel saucepan

Chef’s knife

Serving dish

A Chef Giangi PIck
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven, 3.5 qt
$209.95


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What is a chiffonade cut?

In English, “chiffonade” means little ribbons, referring to the little ribbons that are formed from finely cutting the leaves.

Chiffonade is a French cooking technique used to cut herbs or leafy green vegetables into long strips finely.

Take all your herbs and layer them one over the other. Gently roll them and try to keep them in a nice bundle.

With a sharp knife, slice them into 1/8″ strips.

How to make Bouquet garni

The bouquet garni is a bundle of fresh herbs tied with a string and mainly used for soups, stock, and stews. The bouquet is cooked with all the ingredients and removed before serving.

It traditionally contains parsley or stalk, rich in flavor, fresh strings of thyme, and bay leaf.

I must admit I love to use fresh herbs, but I use a bouquet garni balls instead of tying all the herbs together. This prevents me from digging them out because I did not tie them well.

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For this recipe today I did not have fresh thyme at the house as well as bay leaf, I chose to use my already prepared bouquet garni.

You can also purchase already-made bouquet garni at your store. They have come in handy multiple times; thus, I always have them in my spice cabinet.

Step by step on how to make these delicious French peas

There is very little prep with this peas recipe. Have all your ingredients ready before turning on your stove.

  • Start by removing any wilted parts of your butter lettuce. Separate the lettuce leaves, wash them, and slice them in a very large chiffonade. Set aside.
  • Peel and slice your shallots and set aside.
  • Add your peas, shallots, bouquet garni, salt and pepper, water, sugar, and five tablespoons of butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Mix well, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-low heat.
Petits Pois A La Francaise ingredients in a saucepan
  • Continue cooking for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove the bouquet garni, add the remaining butter, rectify the seasoning, pour into a serving dish, and enjoy.
Petits Pois A La Francaise in a serving dish with spoon
A Chef Giangi PIck
Bart Spices Bouquet Garnis - 8 per pack
$12.49 ($6.24 / Count)

I always have a jar in the house. You never know when you will need it.

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Pro Tips

As we eat with our eyes too, as you know, when you cook the lettuce, it will turn a darker color. To eliminate some little noses going up in the air, and I mean children’s refusal to eat, and moving away from this tasty dish, I suggest you hold back a few Boston lettuce leaves and add them toward the end of cooking.

Make sure they are wilted before serving. This will give that beautiful green color to your dish.

What dishes can you enjoy this petits pois a la Francaise with?

This dish is perfect for delicate meats such as veal, lamb, and duck.

The perfect pairing is alongside this divine Rack of Lamb With Parsley. The two combined are ideal marriages as they complement each other.

The richness of the duck and cherries brings out the subtle richness of the peas with this Duck Breast With Port and Cherry Sauce.

I know I am crossing the border to Italy with this Veal Piccata, but these peas are perfect alongside.

Variations and Substitutions

When in season, you can use fresh peas. Shell them, rinse them, and continue with the recipe, as shown below in the recipe card instructions.

Onions: you can use small pearl white or 12 small green onions, cleaned and the outer skin removed.

Add a tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley or chervil just before serving. It adds a layer of flavor.

Chopped chives are also added at serving time; their onion flavor is unique and perfect for this dish.

Petits Pois A La Francaise on a serving dish

Storing and Reheating

I always make more of these peas so I can have leftovers. Storing them in a glass air-tight container will be perfect. They will save in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Please bring them back to room temperature and place them in a skillet with a couple of tablespoons of water and a dab of butter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I shell fresh peas the day before using them?

Peas are one of those vegetables most prone to lose their quality if handled too much and too soon. It is recommended to shell and use them immediately to maintain that delicate flavor.

Are frozen peas nutritious?

Yes. they are, as they are packed with all the protein, fiber, and nutrients found in fresh ones. They freeze-dry, which allows them to maintain all their nutrition.

Do peas need to be soaked before cooking?

There is no need to soak peas as they will cook within 5 to 20 minutes without any soaking time on your part.

Why are my frozen peas hard after cooking?

Do not overcook peas, as they will wither and become tough.

French peas on a spoon close up

If you enjoy this Petits Pois A La Francaise recipe, you may want to try my other recipes.

Mint Peas – What Not To Love

Milk Cooked Peas

White Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Potatoes and Peas

Duck Cassoulet

Petits Pois A La Francaise – French Peas

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Petits Pois A La Francaise
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Petits pois a la Francaise is a classic French way to prepare peas, braising them with onions and lettuce. Bring your spoon to the table; you will not regret it.

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds frozen peas, or 3 pounds fresh peas shelled
  • 1 Boston lettuce, head
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 shallots, roughly chopped or 12 small white onions
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ½ teaaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • chervil or parsley, (optional)

Instructions

  • Remove any parts of the lettuce that may be wilted. Wash the lettuce and slice it into large chiffonade.
  • Peel and slice the shallots into larger chunks.
  • In a heavy-bottomed 3-quart enamel saucepan, add the onion, peas, bouquet garni, 5 tablespoons of butter, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over the cold water.
  • Mix well, cover, and bring the saucepan to a small boil over medium-low heat. Continue cooking for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove the bouquet garni, add the rest of the butter. Check for seasoning and correct if need be. Mix well and serve.

Notes

BOUQUET GARNI
If you choose to make it with fresh herbs, here is what you need:
Fresh parsley, thyme, and laurel tied together.
Always remove before serving.
PRO TIPS
  • As we eat with our eyes too, as you know, when you cook the lettuce, it will turn a darker color. To eliminate some little noses going up in the air, and I mean children’s refusal to eat, and moving away from this tasty dish, I suggest you hold back a few Boston lettuce leaves and add them toward the end of cooking.
  • Make sure they are wilted before serving. This will give that beautiful green color to your dish.

Nutrition

Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 68mg | Potassium: 712mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 3893IU | Vitamin C: 94mg | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 7mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

Did you make this?

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