Food & Drink

Dutch pea soup

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The Dutch love soup in all flavors, shapes and sizes. Most Sunday dinners will have soup as a starter, whether it’s a broth-based or a cream soup. Often throughout the week, they will have a thicker, filling soup as a meal, together with a slice of bread or a small roll.

During the cold winters, when there’s an opportunity to ice-skate on the canals, small shacks 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 Dutch pea soup with a piece of smoky sausage is invigorating and strengthens even the most tired person!

But wandering around the city, walking from historical site to viewpoint, a cup of Dutch pea soup will do you equally well, especially if you’ve encountered cooler weather. Take a moment to reflect, sit down and allow yourself to be served a warm cup of soup in one of the many restaurants our country is rich. Served traditionally with a slice of dark rye bread, this typical Dutch soup will give you enough energy to keep going!

Dutch pea soup (Erwtensoep)

  • 500 grams (1.1 lb) green split peas
  • 1 liter (34 fl oz) water
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 small potato, peeled
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small smoked ham hock, ham bone or sausage
  • Salt and pepper

Rinse and wash the split peas, and add them with the water to a pot. Chop the vegetables and add them to the water and add the bay leaf. Add the smoked meat.

Bring to a boil and simmer for about 40 minutes. When the peas are soft, remove the bay leaf and either puree or just stir the soup several times, the peas will dissolve and give it a creamy consistence. Cut the meat off the bone, or slice the sausage and stir it back in the soup. Adjust the flavor with salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with a slice of buttered dark rye bread. This soup is best served the next day, when the flavors all have a chance to blend. Do reheat carefully, as the soup thickens overnight and can scorch easily. Thin with a little bit of warm water if needed.