Erwtensoep (Dutch Pea Soup a.k.a. "Snert")
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: Enough for days
Delicious winter soup. The longer you cook it, the better it is. Also, like a curry, it is better the next day. It should be refridgerated as it can go bad easily if left out. Make a lot, it is delicious and won't go to waste; this soup freezes well and can last for 6 months (or even longer). When cold, you should be able to cut it with a knife
- 2 large celeriac (or a bunch celery if not available)
- 4 carrots
- 4 large potatoes
- 1 stick celery (or a bunch if celeriac is not available)
- 4 leeks
- 1 kg green split peas
- 6-10 l water (depending on evaporation loss)
- You want about 2kg of meat, including bones, which can be made up of:
- 1 ham hock (800g or larger)
- 6 pork ribs (fat removed)
- smoked bacon bones
- Piece of speck
- 2 rookworst as accompaniment (see discussion at bottom about rookworst)
- 2 handfuls chopped celery leaves
- 1 handful chopped parsley
- Check peas and remove any that are a funny colour, or any small stones that might have crept in. Wash them 3 times in fresh water.
- Optional: Some people soak the peas for 12 hours in 6 litres of water, then quickly bring them to the boil, skim off the scum, and discard the water. I don't bother with this, the packet doesn't even say to do it.
- Peel and dice potatoes, celeriac, and carrots into 1cm pieces
- Dice a stick of celery, or a bunch if substituting for celeriac
- Halve the leeks lengthwise, thoroughly wash them and chop roughly (including most of the green bits)
- Dice any loose meat, but leave whole any meat that is on the bone
- Chop celery leaves and parsley
- In a large pot, add celeriac, carrots, potatoes, leeks, peas, and all meat except the rookworst.
- Cover with 5-6 litres of water. You can add some stock powder or cubes if you wish, but don’t tell me about it if you want my respect.
- Bring to the boil, skimming if necessary, then put the heat on low. Leave it to simmer, covered, for about an hour.
- After an hour, give the soup a stir and check that it isn't sticking to the bottom. Add water if it looks like it needs it. Cover and repeat every 20-30 minutes.
- After 2.5 hours of simmering, check the meat. If it all comes easily away from the bones, take it out of the pot. Remove the meat from the bones and chop it, then return the meat and bones to the pot. Add more water, if required.
- After another 30 mins, the soup should be almost ready. If you like, you can give it a bit of a mash with a potato masher, or use a stab mixer if you desire a more even consistency. I like the chunks to degrade naturally by being ‘boiled to bits’.
- Finally, get a spoon and stand it in the centre of the pot. If it stays upright, the soup is ready. If not, continue cooking until this very important test can be passed.
- Once the spoon stands up, thinly slice the rookworst (like coins) and add it to the pot. Let it simmer until the rookworst is hot and some of its delicious juices have started to come out.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the chopped celery leaves and parsley.
Traditionally it is served with a kind of rye bread that is similar to pumpernickel called roggebrood and a thinly sliced black smoked ham/bacon called katenspek. Sometimes mustard is spread on the rye bread.
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