Dinner/ European/ Recipes/ Soup

Erwtensoep – Dutch Split Pea Soup

21/05/2020

Thick and hearty Erwtensoep is a savoury delight. This smoky bowl of Dutch-style split pea soup is so comforting, just like a warm hug from Grandma on a cold winter’s day. 

It’s also the perfect soup base for making Pie Floaters for dinner!

Top view of erwtensoep in a bowl with a spoon and crusty bread.

Why We Love This

The smoky aroma fills the kitchen, instantly warming and welcoming anyone who steps over the threshold. A slightly different take on the English version of Pea and Ham Soup, we love the use of celeriac and a clove-studded onion in the Dutch version.

There’s also nothing better than mopping up a bowl of this one pot soup with a crusty piece of bread dripping with butter. Yum!

 

Bowl of chunky Dutch split pea soup with bread roll in background.

What is Erwtensoep? 

Erwtensoep (pronounced: Air-ten-soup) is a hearty, smoky soup featuring green split peas simmered down with pork, carrots, onion, leeks and celeriac (which is the root ball from a type of celery).

It can also go by the name of Snert or just Dutch Split Pea Soup. No matter what you call it, we’re sure you’re going to love it.

Now, Erwtensoep is traditionally eaten during the winter, with rookworst, slices of frisian rye bread (roggebrood) and bacon, cheese or butter.

If you’re lucky enough to head down to the frozen canals, ponds or lakes of the Netherlands for a spot of ice skating, you can warm yourself up afterwards with a bowl of piping hot snert, dished up as a savoury street snack from ‘koek en zopie‘ outlets.

Dutch Split Pea Soup it may be called, but the final dish has more of a stew-like consistency. The key is to make it so thick a spoon can stand upright in it.

 

What You’ll Need

All the good and hearty ingredients for a nice thick soup are in this dish! All ingredients should be easy to come by, or have substitutes to get you close enough.

You’ll find smoked bacon bones at the butcher or local supermarket more often around the cooler months. Ask around or call ahead if you’re unsure they’ll be in stock. In a pinch, add either a ham hock or just a couple of drops of liquid smoke to give the soup that smoky flavour.

Celeriac is the root of a type of celery, and tastes like celery but has the texture of potato in a soup. You can usually find them at the supermarket or Farmer’s market. If you can’t get hold of one, you can easily substitute with a couple of potatoes, turnips, parsnips or celery stalks.

Ingredients laid out for Erwtensoep recipe.

 

How to make Dutch Split Pea Soup:

Start with a big pot because you’re gonna need it!

Pour the green split peas straight into the empty pot, then add the bacon bones, bacon pieces, pork chop, pepper, beef stock, and clove-studded onion. Pour in the water and fire up the stove to a medium-high heat.

Pouring water over ingredients for Dutch split pea soup.

Bring to the boil then simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scoop off any broth foam that appears. Remove the pork chop and slice the meat off the bones – we’ll be adding the meat back in later.

Scooping froth off the top of the erwtensoep.

Add all the chopped veggies (leeks, carrots and celeriac) and give everything a good stir. Cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes until soft and delicious. Stir occasionally to avoid the vegetables sticking to the bottom.

Adding the chopped vegetables into the split pea soup.

At the “15 minutes-to-go” mark remove the bacon bones and the clove-studded onion. Discard the bones. Remove the cloves from the onion and discard the cloves, then chop the onion. Add the chopped onion and pork back into the soup.

Removing the smoky bacon bone from the erwtensoep.

Now you’ve got a big choice friends. To blend – or not to blend? To blend, use a stick blender, regular blender or food processor and blend the soup in batches til you’re happy with the consistency. Or you can easily leave it chunky! We won’t judge.

Your final soup/stew should be thick enough for a spoon to stand upright. Mission accomplished?

 

Cook’s Tips

  • Studding the onion with the cloves means you don’t have to go fishing for the tiny bits and pieces later!
  • If you find the cloves too hard to put in the onion, try poking little slits in the onion first with a knife, then pushing them in with the back of a spoon instead of using your fingers.
  • Let the onion cool a little before cutting it up, as it stays quite hot. Otherwise, use tongs or a fork to hold it in place without touching it. If you’re feeling really lazy, put it back in whole and just blend it later.
  • If you want to use the soup as a base for something like Pie Floater with Pea Soup, blend it for the best consistency to hold up the pie.

FAQs

Can I use yellow or green split peas?

You can use either. We do prefer green split peas for the slightly sweeter flavour, but use what you have on hand.

Can you freeze split pea soup?

Definitely! This recipe makes such a big batch, it’s perfect to portion out and freeze for later.

How do you thicken erwtensoep?

Blending the soup at the end will help to give a thicker consistency to the final dish, or you can add a couple of chopped potatoes to the ingredients list. If it’s still not thick enough, try creating a slurry (1 tbsp cornflour with 2 tbsp cold milk) to add to the mix. Stir it in, and that should help thicken over a few minutes.

Variations & Substitutes

  • Substitute celeriac with a couple of potatoes, turnips, parsnips or celery stalks.
  • Swap out the bacon bones for either a ham hock, Polish kielbasa or just a couple of drops of liquid smoke to give the soup that smoky flavour.
  • You can use yellow split peas if required, the taste will be slightly different, but should yield ‘souper’ similar results.
  • Make it vegan by omitting the meat and adding extra vegetables such as potato to make up the weight. You can also use vegetable stock instead of beef and add a few drops of liquid smoke to round out the flavour profile.

Close up of Snert soup, also known as Dutch Erwtensoep.

 

Batch cooking for winter? Here are some more warming favourites:

 

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

 

Close up view of bowl filled with Dutch split pea soup.

Erwtensoep - Dutch Split Pea Soup

Thick and hearty Erwtensoep is a savoury delight. This smoky bowl of Dutch-style split pea soup is so comforting, just like a warm hug from Grandma on a cold winter’s day. 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Course: Dinner, Soup
Cuisine: Dutch
Servings: 8 bowls
Calories: 259kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $15

Equipment

  • Extra large saucepan

Ingredients

  • 2 cups green split peas
  • 2 bacon bones smoked
  • 2 bacon rashers diced
  • 2.25 ltr cold water (aka 9 cups)
  • 1 onion whole, stuffed with 10 cloves
  • 2 leeks chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • ½ celeriac peeled, diced into 1 cm pieces or sub with potato
  • 1 pork chop
  • 2 tsp beef stock
  • black pepper

Instructions

  • Start with a big pot because you’re gonna need it! 😉
  • Pour the green split peas straight into the empty pot, then add the bacon bones, bacon pieces, pork chop, pepper, beef stock, and clove-studded onion. Pour in the water and fire up the stove to a medium-high heat.
  • Bring to the boil then simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scoop off any broth foam that appears. Remove the pork chop and slice the meat off the bones - we’ll be adding the meat back in later.
  • Add all the chopped veggies (leeks, carrots and celeriac) and give everything a good stir. Cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes until soft and delicious. Stir occasionally to avoid the vegetables sticking to the bottom.
  • At the "15 minutes-to-go" mark remove the bacon bones and the clove-studded onion. Discard the bones. Remove the cloves from the onion and discard the cloves, then chop the onion. Add the chopped onion and pork back into the soup.
  • Now you’ve got a big choice friends. To blend - or not to blend? To blend, use a stick blender, regular blender or food processor and blend the soup in batches til you’re happy with the consistency. Or you can easily leave it chunky! We won't judge.
  • Your final soup/stew should be thick enough for a spoon to stand upright. Mission accomplished?

Video

Notes

Cook's Tips
  • Studding the onion with the cloves means you don't have to go fishing for the tiny bits and pieces later!
  • If you find the cloves too hard to put in the onion, try poking little slits in the onion first with a knife, then pushing them in with the back of a spoon instead of using your fingers.
  • Let the onion cool a little before cutting it up, as it stays quite hot. Otherwise, use tongs or a fork to hold it in place without touching it. If you're feeling really lazy, put it back in whole and just blend it later.
  • If you want to use the soup as a base for something like Pie Floater with Pea Soup, blend it for the best consistency to hold up the pie.
FAQs
  • Can I use yellow or green split peas? You can use either. We do prefer green split peas for the slightly sweeter flavour, but use what you have on hand.
  • Can you freeze split pea soup? Definitely! This recipe makes such a big batch, it's perfect to portion out and freeze for later.
  • How do you thicken erwtensoep? Blending the soup at the end will help to give a thicker consistency to the final dish, or you can add a couple of chopped potatoes to the ingredients list. If it's still not thick enough, try creating a slurry (1 tbsp cornflour with 2 tbsp cold milk) to add to the mix. Stir it in, and that should help thicken over a few minutes.
Variations & Substitutes
  • Substitute celeriac with a couple of potatoes, turnips, parsnips or celery stalks.
  • Swap out the bacon bones for either a ham hock, Polish kielbasa or just a couple of drops of liquid smoke to give the soup that smoky flavour.
  • You can use yellow split peas if required, the taste will be slightly different, but should yield "souper" similar results.
  • Make it vegan by omitting the meat and adding extra vegetables such as potato to make up the weight. You can also use vegetable stock instead of beef and add a few drops of liquid smoke to round out the flavour profile.

Nutrition

Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 787mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2992IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 3mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Erwtensoep – Dutch Split Pea Soup

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Victoria
    14/06/2016 at 10:34 pm

    5 stars
    I’m going to have to try this for the meat eaters in my house this winter! (My sister is a Vegetarian) but what are Bacon bones?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      15/06/2016 at 11:33 am

      Hey Victoria, hope you enjoy! (And I’m sure this would still be super tasty if you made a vegetarian batch for your sister 🙂 We found bacon bones at the deli section of our supermarket. They don’t have much meat on them so you mainly use them just to flavour the stock. Because they’re smoked, they give a gorgeous smoky flavour to the dish! But if you don’t want to use bacon bones, you could also consider using a few drops of liquid smoke!

  • Reply
    Mascha
    09/06/2016 at 7:35 am

    Yeahhhhhhhhh, whohohooooooooo, love Gerard & Mascha.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/06/2016 at 8:49 am

      Hahaha, thanks for stopping by guys! Hope to see you around the world sometime soon! 😉

  • Reply
    Matthew From Nomageddon
    08/06/2016 at 7:06 am

    HEHEHEHEHE Snert! This looks delicious though and I don’t care that it’s June! I want to make this!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      08/06/2016 at 9:30 am

      Hahaha 😀 We will never get over this name. Or the soup. Best discovery ever haha 😛

  • Reply
    Tina Marie
    08/06/2016 at 1:05 am

    5 stars
    I’ve never heard of this before, and yes, what a curious name! I’ll have to try this, it really does look delicious.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      08/06/2016 at 9:35 am

      Thanks Tina, hope you enjoy the Snert!

  • Reply
    Kate @ VeggieDesserts
    07/06/2016 at 11:18 pm

    What a fantastic soup! And yes, I love the name – though I won’t even attempt to spell it here! 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      08/06/2016 at 9:29 am

      Ooohhh, you’re missing out on half the fun! 😛

  • Reply
    Jolina - The Unlikely Baker
    07/06/2016 at 11:04 pm

    5 stars
    Thank you for telling me how to pronounce it ha! It looks delicious even though it doesn’t look like any pea soup I’ve ever had – do you eat it like a dip?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      08/06/2016 at 9:28 am

      It looks like a dip doesn’t it?? Well a big chunk of crusty bread goes very nicely dipped in it, otherwise just go for gold with a spoon and enjoy the deliciousness! 🙂

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