Erwtensoep (Dutch Pea Soup)

I had a mother-in-law who was a good cook. I am pleased to say that I learned quite a bit from her. One of the things she used to make really well was Split Pea Soup. It was better than anything I’d ever had previously. I never did find out from her just how she made it (nothing was ever written down), but when I bought a Bon Appetit cookbook, I was thrilled to find a recipe for Dutch Pea Soup that sounded very much like my mother-in-law’s recipe. The recipe was a keeper and I’ve been making it ever since.

Now that winter is here, it’s the perfect time for this tasty soup. Oh, if you think you don’t like pea soup, think again. I’ve gained a few converts with this recipe.

Erwtensoep (Dutch Pea Soup)

[printable version]

  • 2 cups dried split peas
  • 3 quarts water (12 cups)
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 cup bacon squares, or about 1/2 cup salt port, cubed
  • 1 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 bunch celery, chopped (including leaves)
  • 2 leeks, split and chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 smoked Dutch ring sausage (rookworst)
  • Salt, to taste

If tenderized peas are used, simply cover them with water and boil according to package directions. If not, wash peas, soak for 12 hours or overnight in water, and boil for 1 hour in the water in which they were soaked. Add ham hock and all remaining ingredients except the sausage. Cook for two hours over medium heat or until meat is tender. Remove ham hock, shred meat and reserve. Continue cooking until soup is smooth and thick. Remove bay leaves. Add shredded meat and sausage. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until meat is heated through. Serve hot.

Note: if you can’t find smoked ham hocks, use an unsmoked ham hock or pigs foot and add about 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke.

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