Ertwensoep (also known as snert) is a typical Dutch winter meal. This recipe makes a pretty thick meal of a soup, but that’s how it should be. In fact, the Dutch believe that erwtensoep should be so thick that you can stand a spoon upright in it. However, if you prefer a slightly thinner soup, simply add some more stock. It’s traditional to serve this hearty winter soup with slices of rookworst (smoked sausage) and rye bread topped with katenspek (a type of Dutch bacon that is first cooked, then smoked).
1 1/2 cups (10.5 oz) dried green split peas (300 g)
3 1/2 oz Dutch speklapjes (fresh sliced pork belly), (100 g), or thick-cut bacon
1 pork chop (5-6 oz/150 g)
1 stock cube (you could use vegetable/pork/chicken)
2 celery sticks
2-3 carrots, sliced (1/2 cup/3 1/2 oz/100 g)
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 small onion, chopped
1 small leek, sliced (1/2 cup/3 1/2 oz/100 g)
1/4 celeriac, cubed (1/2 cup/3 /12 oz/100 g)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring 3 3/4 pints water (1.75 l) to the boil in a large soup pot, along with the split peas, stock cube, pork chop and bacon. Skim off any froth forming on top. Put the lid on the pot and leave to boil softly for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally (it may catch if you don’t).
Take the pork chop out with a pair of tongs, debone and thinly slice the meat. Set aside. Add the vegetables to the boiling broth and leave to cook for another 30 minutes, adding a little extra water every time the soup starts to catch. Add the smoked sausage for the last 15 minutes. When the vegetables are tender, remove the bacon and smoked sausage with the tongs, slice thinly and set aside.
Meanwhile, if you prefer a smooth consistency, puree the soup with a stick blender. Season to taste. Add the meat back to the soup, setting some slices of ‘rookworst’ aside. Serve split pea soup in bowls or soup plates, garnished with slices of smoked sausage and chopped celery leaf.
Celery leaf is sold as a herb in Dutch supermarkets, but you can easily substitute the tender green leaves in the center of a regular bunch of celery instead for that authentic Dutch touch.
I often prefer to serve the soup chunky, in which case I don’t bother to puree it. But it looks much more presentable when smooth.
A handful of chopped celery leaf (or the leaves in the center of a regular bunch of celery)
Rookworst (a Dutch smoked sausage) or smoked soft metwurst or frankfurter/wiener sausages