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Erwtensoep (Traditional Dutch Split Pea Soup)

Ertwensoep (also known as snert) is a typical Dutch winter meal. This recipe makes a soup that will stick to your ribs, but that's how it should be.

In fact, the Dutch believe that erwtensoep should be so thick that you can stand a spoon upright in it. However, if you prefer a slightly thinner soup, simply add more water.

It's traditional to serve this hearty winter soup with slices of rookworst (smoked sausage) and rye bread topped with katenspek (a type of Dutch bacon that is first cooked, then smoked).

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (10.5 oz) dried green split peas (300 g)
  • 3 1/2 oz Dutch speklapjes (fresh sliced pork belly), (100 g), or thick-cut bacon
  • 1 pork chop
  • 1 stock cube (vegetable, pork or chicken)
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2-3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small leek, sliced
  • 1/4 celeriac, cubed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

To serve: Serve with a handful of chopped celery leaf (see tip below) and Rookworst (a Dutch smoked sausage).

Directions

  1. Bring 7 1/2 cups water (1.75 l or ) to the boil in a large soup pot, along with the split peas, stock cube, pork chop and bacon. Skim off any froth forming on top. Put the lid on the pot and leave to boil softly for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally (it may catch if you don't).
  2. Carefully remove the pork chop and debone and thinly slice the meat. Set aside.
  3. Add the vegetables to the boiling broth and leave to cook for another 30 minutes, adding a little extra water every time the soup starts to catch. Add the smoked sausage for the last 15 minutes.
  4. When the vegetables are tender, remove the bacon and smoked sausage, slice thinly and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, if you prefer a smooth consistency, puree the soup with an immersion blender.
  6. Season to taste.
  7. Add the meat back to the soup, setting some slices of 'rookworst' aside.
  8. Serve split pea soup in bowls or soup plates, garnished with slices of smoked sausage and chopped celery leaf.

Tips:

Celery leaf is sold as a herb in Dutch supermarkets, but you can easily substitute the tender green leaves in the center of a regular bunch of celery instead for that authentic Dutch touch.