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Pea Soup

by on January 31, 2010

There’s not really such a thing as “Dutch cuisine”. There are, however, a few traditional dishes, and this is one of my favorites: pea soup (“erwtensoep” or, more colloquially, “snert”), which should ideally be so thick that a spoon should stay upright if you put it in. It’s not a complicated dish to make, and it’s not even that much work, but it does require a lot of time: it can be done in three hours, but it can easily take up to five. However, most of the work needs to be done in the first hour, or hour and a half: after that all you need to do is let it simmer, and stir occasionally.


  • 500 g of split peas (spliterwten)
  • Rookworst (smoked sausage)
  • A few pieces of pork, e.g.
    • 1 pork chop (karbonade)
    • 1 piece of ham (hamlapje)
    • 1 piece of uncooked Bacon (speklapje)
  • 1 big onion (or a few small ones)
  • 1 big potato (or a few small ones)
  • 1 big carrot – winterpeen (or a few small ones)
  • 1 leek (prei)
  • A few stalks of celery – bleekselderij(or just the green part, and a quarter of a celeriac, which I used in this case)
  • 2 bay leaves (laurierblad)

Yup, that’s a lot of meat. Note: I used a ready-packed set of veggies, for the first time, but I can’t recommend it: both the leek and the celeriac were quite dried out.

First step is to rinse the split peas, and then to put them in a big pot with the pork (everything except for the rookworst)

Add two liters of water (half a gallon), and put it on a medium fire.

After a while, it will get foamy. Remove the foam regularly with a slotted spoon. It’s also imported to stir from time to time, and to scrape the bottom when you do: the peas have a tendency to get stuck there and burn.

While it boils softly, cut all the veggies into small pieces.

Add the veggies and the bay leaves to the pot after half an hour/ fourty-five minutes (or whenever you’re done with cutting). Season with salt and pepper.

The soup should get greenish after about half an hour more, as the peas break.

When it looks like above, fish out the meat.

Cut it into small pieces:

and put it back into the pot.

When the soup starts to really come together (after about half an hour more or so), add the sliced rookworst.

Wait for another 15 minutes or so, and there you are: authentic traditional Dutch pea soup. You can serve it as is, but it gets better if you leave it in the fridge (or outside, if it’s pea-soup weather) for a night.

Mine looked like this the following morning:

Heat it up slowly and stirring regularly the following day: the thickness of the soup means it burns all too easily.

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