3 pounds (1.5 kg) salt meat (see Note)
2 cups (500 mL) yellow split peas
1 large turnip, peeled and cut into eighths
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) lengths
6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 head cabbage, cut into eight wedges
2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Note: Salt meat, cured in salt brine, is not the same as corned beef (which is preserved in a solution of salt, sugar and salt peter). Look for salt meat where Newfoundland/Labrador foods are sold. If unavailable, corned beef may be substituted, but the flavour and texture will be different.
Soak the salt meat overnight in cold water, changing the water at least once. Rinse meat one more time. Place in a large pot and cover with fresh water. Bring to the boiling point, reduce heat and simmer for at least two hours.
Place split peas in a cloth bag or a clean tea towel, gathered up and tied at the top, leaving an extra length of string. The peas should form a loose ball; if tied too tightly they will not cook properly. Place bag in pot with the salt meat and tie the bag to the pot handle to keep it off the bottom and prevent scorching. Return to boiling point, then reduce heat and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
Add vegetables 2 to 5 minutes apart, starting with turnip, then carrots, potatoes, and finally the cabbage.
Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until vegetables are tender. Drain off water. Carefully open the bag of peas (the peas are very hot), turn peas into a bowl and whip, adding in the butter, salt and pepper.
Cut the salt meat into cubes, and serve with boiled vegetables and mushy peas, called pease pudding, accompanied by pickled beets and sweet mustard pickles. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Tip: Chef Ramsay says you can cook the peas in a separate pot if the one you have isn't large enough. Just bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes until the peas are soft and cooked. If the peas are still a little hard, you can retie the bag and cook for a couple more minutes, or finish them in the microwave.