A savoury delight, this thick and hearty Snert Dutch Split Pea Soup (Erwtensoep) is just like a warm hug from Grandma on a cold winter’s day. And! This bowl of smoky goodness tastes just as good as its name. We swear!
Can we all just bask in the glory of that name for a second, before I pull out its other Dutch name?
ERWTENSOEP. (Pronounced: Air-ten-soup)
Oh god how we love these names! They’re almost as good as the dish itself.
But no matter what you call this Dutch Split Pea Soup, we’re sure you’re going to love it.
This hearty, smoky, savoury stew features green split peas simmered down with pork, carrots, potato, onion, leeks and celeriac (which we only just learned is the root ball from a type of celery, don’t judge).
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Now, we wandered the Netherlands in summer last year, so how did we come across this beloved winter soup?
Well the story involves and epic feast and copious amounts of rice wine in the mountains of Vietnam.
You know. As you do.
Our soon-to-be-friends Mascha & Gerard from the Netherlands arrived at our Dalat guesthouse just after we did, and were greeted with the same enthusiastic hospitality.
You see, our host would NOT take no for an answer…
So the four of us travellers found ourselves on tiny stools on the roadside, sipping cup after cup of rice wine and nibbling from plate after plate of local Vietnamese specialities.
Between endless calls of ‘Mot Hai Ba Yo!’ (Vietnamese for ‘Cheers’, literally ‘One, Two, Three, Yo!’) there were bowls of noodles, dishes of sticky fried pork, Vietnamese fried spring rolls and crispy banh xeo pancakes.
Merry, full, and thoroughly tipsy (at lunchtime, I might add), conversation soon turned to the food of our homelands, comparing all the the things we all loved from Dutch and Australian cuisines.
Big thanks to Mascha and Gerard for sharing their favourite recipe for their beloved national Dutch dish, which we’ve changed up just a little bit to make use of some locally available ingredients.
Snert Dutch Split Pea Soup (Erwtensoep)
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.
Snert 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.
Ours stood up to the test too, check it out.
Snert Dutch Split Pea Soup not your style? Try our other favourite soups, including these two little beauties: Albanian Jani Me Fasule (White Bean Soup) and Slovenian Ricet (Sausage & Vegetable Barley Soup).
- Extra large saucepan
- 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
- 1 pork chop
- 2 tsp beef stock
- black pepper
- 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 straight on top. 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 and scooping 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.
- All all the chopped veggies 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, then chop the onion and add it back in.
- 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’ll never judge.
- Once you've blended or decided to leave it chunky, add in the chopped meat and you're good to go.
- Your final soup/stew should be thick enough for a spoon to stand upright. Mission accomplished?
- To make it easier to remove the whole cloves, stud them into the brown onion. That will hold them in place and make it so much quicker and easier to remove. You can then chop the onion and pop it back in after.
- Serve this soup with a thick slice of crusty white bread or rye. For a heavenly upgrade, slather with fresh butter.