Funny story. Kayotic Kitchen was recently published in a Dutch magazine. The header stated “They even make my split pea soup in Egypt“. I thought I’d die laughing—there is was no split pea soup recipe in my food blog! It was so amusing to read how the interview I gave them had been creatively altered. So I guess it’s about time I slap up an “erwtensoep” recipe, wouldn’t you say?
Even though the color and texture has always been visually very unappealing to me, I still label this ‘best soup in the world‘. Thick, fragrant, hearty and wholesome split pea soup. Comfort food deluxe. I’m often using a lazy Sunday afternoon to make this soup—it takes quite some time to prepare, but it mainly cooks unattended, leaving me with plenty of time for other things while the house fills itself with the fantastic scent of home made soup.
Cooking without frills is what this is, pretty much as straight-forward as it can be. I grew up with this soup so, in my book, this is as Dutch as it gets. It’s amazing how many people online call a bowl of watery green substance with a few floating carrots here and there Dutch split pea soup. That’s not the Dutch version at all!
This is the exact recipe as it lingered around my family for many, many decades. Probably even centuries. It was never changed, nothing was subtracted or added, this is all there is to it. A lot of vegetables and meat is added to the soup making it a perfect winter meal.
2 cups split peas
1 large carrot
1/2 celeriac root
6 cups water
2 pork chops
5 pork ribs
Optional: smoked sausage
Just seasoned my big dutch oven last night, because nothing works better for erwtensoep -as its called in my country- than a Dutch oven. I’m making quite a bit of soup, so you can also go for half the ingredients if you need less, but note that this soup freezes very well, which I why I make such large quantities.
Gathering the crew.
There are people who soak the split peas overnight, I’m not one of them. I just rinse them.
Notice I’m not starting with the onions this time? It’s taking me all my restraint, but I’m doing it! Oh yes, I am!
With this soup, you shouldn’t be afraid to use fatty meats, I guess. I went for 2 pork shoulder chops that I cut up in bit-size pieces, 5 pork ribs and 4oz bacon. If that isn’t going to flavor the soup, nothing will :)
Cut up a large (or two medium) carrots.
Action time! Coarsely chop 2 potatoes, two onions, 2 leeks, 1/2 a celeriac root (you can also use celery, but it won’t be as good) and coarsely chop a small handful celery leaves.
Now there are lots of different ways to cook a split pea soup. It also depends on how crunchy you want your vegetables to be. In my soup, I don’t want them crunchy at all—they have to blend in with the soup. I also go for easy and fast. Crock-pot style layering. First add two heaping cups of split peas and simply place the meat on top of that.
Now in with the celeriac root, carrots, onions, leeks, potato and sprinkle the celery leaves all over.
Pour in 6 cups of water and I’ve added a few beef bouillon cubes. You can also do this with plain salt, of course. Does this look pretty or what? You know it’s bound to be a flavor bomb!
Now pop the lid on, bring everything to a boil, lower the heat and leave it be. Simmer over low heat for about an hour to 75 minutes. I usually don’t even open the lid until an hour has passed by. Show some restraint and don’t stir. C’mon, you know you want to :)
After about 75 minutes, I took a peek. It smelled so good by then, gave everything a stir and put the lid back on and gave it another hour.
This is what it looks like then! Slowly we’re getting there, it became pretty thick at this point, so I added a little water to it.
After two and a half hours had passed I performed my meat check. If I can easily pull the meat off the bones with a fork, I consider the soup done. It came off so easily, so I took the ribs out, plucked the meat and put it back in.
Now this is a pretty rich soup as is, but I’m a Dutch girl cooking, so we’re not there yet! Oh no, we’re not. I thinly sliced a smoked sausage and popped it right in with the rest of his meaty buddies. That’s the Dutch way.
Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle a little more chopped celery leaves on top.
Now this is Dutch split pea soup!