Outside it’s cold, you don’t really feel like going out but would like to prepare something special for dinner tonight.
Why don’t you prepare this Classic Dutch pea soup?
It’s called erwtensoep (you pronounce it… ah never mind!), and is also known as snert (that’s easier ;-))
I usually help Tim preparing it: I cut the veggies, prepare the pans, and learn how to make a traditional Dutch recipe. I find it very romantic to spend time with him in the kitchen and eat something we prepared together. And this soup is DELICIOUS! Perfect for a cold winter night.
Dutch cuisine has few internationally known highlights. Snert is for sure one of them.
During the cold winters in The Netherlands, when there’s an opportunity to ice-skate on natural ice of frozen canals, small shacks (called ‘koek en zopie’, meaning cookie and soup) will appear on the side of the ice, offering a variety of “pick-me-ups” to encourage and warm the cold skater. A cup of hot pea soup with a piece of smoky sausage is invigorating and strengthens even the most tired person!
Here is a very classic version of this wintery soup.
I got it from the blog of Stefan, an authentic Dutch gourmet who loves sharing his experiences with cooking, eating at restaurants, visiting wineries, and related topics on his blog. He actually did… because his blog unfortunately is not longer online… Stefan, come back!!!
This is an ideal soup to make in large quantities for big gatherings, or to put in a freezer in portions for one or two persons.
Snert must be very thick: a spoon should be able to remain upright in the middle of the pan. To obtain the authentic thick style you must prepare the soup one day in advance and reheat it very carefully before serving. But I can assure you: it’s delicious also on the same day!
The best part of the soup is of course the smoked pork sausage.
Please make sure to buy the authentic ingredients if available, that makes all the difference.
If they are not available in your country, consider coming to Amsterdam, do the shopping at a local grocery and make sure you leave some space in your suitcase to bring it back home 😀
500 grams (1.1 lbs) dried split peas
200 grams (7 oz) carrot
200 grams (7 oz) onion
200 grams (7 oz) leek (white and light green part only)
200 grams (7 oz) potatoes
200 grams (7 oz) celeriac (celery root)
500 grams (1.1 lbs) pork ribs (or other pork with bones)
100 grams (4 oz) raw pork belly, preferably with rind (this is basically raw bacon)
250 grams (9 oz) smoked pork sausage (rookworst)
2-3 tbsp chopped celery leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Soak the pork meat (not the sausage!) in cold water to remove any blood.
- Put the meat in a large pot and add 2 liters of cold water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to heat to simmering (not boiling).
- Simmer for an hour, uncovered.
- Wash split peas (soaking not needed). Add them to the pot. Increase the heat to a gentle boil.
- Cook for around 90 minutes until the peas have fallen apart. Stir now and then to prevent the peas from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.
- Meanwhile, clean and cut the vegetables. Use only the white and light green part of the leeks. Cut in half lengthwise and then cut in slices as shown.
- Chop the onion(s). Cut potatoes, carrots and celeriac in cubes (brunoise).
- Take the meat out of the pot when the peas are cooked. Put in a bowl to catch any soup that comes along with the meat.
- Remove the bones, cartilage, pork rind and any other (fatty) parts that you don’t like to eat. Cut the meat into small pieces and put back into the pot.
- Add vegetables to the pot and stir. Cook for another 30 minutes and keep stirring.
- Meanwhile, remove celery stalks from the leaves…
- …and chop celery.
- Stir in the celery. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. The soup is now still very thin, to make it thick just let it cool off as described in the next steps.
- Force-cool the soup by putting the pot into a sink filled with cold water and stirring. Replace the water if it becomes warm. Force-cooling is necessary to prevent the soup from turning sour, which can happen if the cooling process takes too long. Store overnight in the refrigerator (or outside if the weather is like a typical Dutch winter and outside is the same climate as your fridge — just make sure the lid cannot be opened by cats or dogs!).
- To serve, slice the smoked pork sausage and add the slices to the soup. Warm the whole pan gently while stirring constantly to prevent burning, or warm individual portions in the microwave (stir after each minute or so).
Traditionally, snert is served with dark rye bread (roggebrood) and smoked bacon (spek).
Buon Appetito / Eet Smakelijk