It’s time for some cooking with DutchReview. We’ve got the ultimate recipe for erwtensoep for you today (with a lil’ help from The Dutch Table).

Ah, Dutch food and especially erwtensoep… The Netherlands is known for many things: tulips, iconic houses by the canals, love for cycling and cheese to name a few. What if we tell you that there is one other thing that has been kept secret all this time, something very Dutch and very underestimated: The Dutch cuisine.

Yes, we can hear you questioning our (rather bold?) claim but bear with us and think about it. Stroopwafels, bitterballen, pannenkoeken, stamppot, gevulde spekulaas, and the list goes on. The Dutch have some pretty tasty food.

So, in the name of spreading the word about the tasty side of the Dutch food (while keeping some of the weird stuff at bay), we have decided to start a series called ”Cooking with Dutchreview.” For this special task, we have decided to get a little help from the one and only The Dutch Table. Interested? Good, then let’s get cooking!

Today’s recipe: erwtensoep

Erwtensoep
Look how it turned out! (and please don’t mind me taking this photo on my living room window ledge.)Image: Ceren Spuyman/Supplied.

Your first reaction is probably “What?” but let us explain: erwtensoep or split pea soup is a filling dutch comfort food made with split peas (duh), veggies and often rookworst. Mostly eaten in the cold winter days, this soup is also served when people (crazy Dutch people we mean) take their New Year’s Dip on the 1st January.

It is — understandably — quite popular in the Netherlands and also known as THE Dutchiest soup there is. After the bad weather we have recently experienced with snow, storm and crazy wind sweeping the whole country; we thought there is no other food that is better than the good old snert! 

The recipe for erwtensoep

Don’t be intimidated by the yumminess of this soup, it takes less than an hour to prepare and around a minute to finish it all up once served!

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Ingredients:

  • 450 grams split peas
  • 1.6 to 1.8 liters of water
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • About 12 little smokies or kielbasa, rookworst (I’ve used the one and only Hema rookworst) or thick bacon

Rinse the split peas and put them in a pot with 1.6 liters of water (if you prefer your soup thick like me, otherwise you can add a bit more). Chop the veggies and add to the peas. Bring to a boil, add the bay leaves, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. Make sure that the soup doesn’t burn so give it a stir every now and then.

When the peas are soft, remove the bay leaves and either puree or give it a good strong stir (this will help peas to dissolve and give some texture to that creaminess). Slice your rookworst or kielbasa and add to the soup. Heat the soup up to warm the meat up. Taste and add some salt if needed. You can also add a dash of black pepper if you like.

There you go! Your soup is ready to be happily devoured. You can serve it with a slice of dark rye bread and bacon on the side (as I’ve done). Eet smakelijk!

Erwtensoep: my experience

The day I’ve decided to cook this recipe was an unusually grey day even for a country like the Netherlands. The storm was blowing everything away and my plan of working that day at the DutchReview office was cancelled because even if I was willing to risk myself, there were no trains to take me to Leiden.

So, stuck at home and looking for something to do; it was clear that I should re-schedule plans for cleaning and let the dust bunnies live to see another day. Jumbo, here I come. (Can’t go out for work but will go out for food.)

The short list of ingredients for this recipe makes the shopping surely easy but there is one downside of feeling obligated to add stuff such as chocolates, borrelnootjes and a carton of vla. Turns out the fewer things you have to buy, the more stuff you end up buying.This assignment was definitely trickier than I thought. So me and my three-times-more-than-I-needed grocery bags hobble back home to get cooking my first Dutchreview recipe.

Time for some Dutch food

At home, everything goes like a breeze, the recipe is quite easy to understand and so free of fuss that the prep is done after a mere 10 minutes. The biggest challenge? Keeping my cat Taco away from the meat sitting on the counter.

The most important part is indeed to not forget to stir as it simmers. I like my soups quite thick and with this particular recipe my husband’s aunt Henny always did a “spoon test” to see if it was thick enough. With thick soups such as these, it is easy for it to catch on the bottom and burn.

(Spoon test is where you put the spoon in the middle of your erwtensoep, if it stays upright then your soup has the perfect consistency)

After a quick 40 minutes or so, I was blessed with the steaming hot, filling and yummy looking goodness sitting in front of me. Yes, I’ve succeeded! Huzzah! Would I have ever succeed without some last minute tips from Nicole (founder of the Dutch Table) no-one will know. For now, I will enjoy my soup feeling sorry for anyone who hasn’t had the chance to taste this yet.

Erwtensoep, you were a total success!

The Dutch Table

The Dutch Table is your online resource for traditional Dutch food recipes. Started by Nicole Holten, The Dutch Table is here to not only help you explore Holland’s best kept secret (yes, the food) but also to let you learn about the traditions and the history behind the recipes.

Here is what Nicole has to say about the Dutch food:

“Ask a Dutch person about their country’s culinary traditions and they will most likely grimace, shrug their shoulders or even apologise for the fact that the Dutch kitchen has not much to offer. Nevertheless, for a country as small as the Netherlands, its regional kitchens consist of a large and exciting variety of dishes, many of which are rich in ingredients and history. This blog is intended to explore it all, one recipe at a time!”

You can follow the Dutch Table on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter so that you’ll never miss a recipe!

If you don’t know what to cook for this evening, give our recipe for Erwtensoep a try and tell us about your experience in the comments!

Feature image: Ceren Spuyman/Supplied.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on 21 January 2018 but was updated in October 2020 for your reading pleasure.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I think you forgot to put the most important ingredient on top of the list .Bad grey hopeless rainy windy misty weather ….It is necesary to inspire us to cook snert .With blue sky and sun we would not think of it .Then we all run outside to sit on a terrace ,drink ranja with a rietje ,or the more daring ones a cold pils and observe the passengers going by to comment on their clothes or hairstyle .Believe snert only is effectiv with thousands shades of grey outside

  2. There is a top of the list issue not passing the review here. First thing to be decided is, if you are a lover of “erwtensoep” or, quite the opposite in structure, the “snert”. In the picture with the article is clearly a plate of Snert.

    Snert is the thicker version of erwtensoep. Just that. The coagulation of the pigs broth and the peas with a lot less water make it a very rich, winter period, food. The definition of Snert is that a heavy metal spoon must be able to stand upright on itself when placed in the stew (which is what most UK persons would call this). Very good after speed skating for a minimum of 4 hours on end. And easier to transport to the foodstalls on the ice. Less water, less weight.

    My favorite though is Erwtensoep. A lot of the flavors are carried better by the water content. An onion and the smokiness of the “rookworst” (cookedvand thereafter smoked white sausage) can be discovered in Snert, but the quality of the peas, the taste of the turnip, the sweet of the allready getting old “winter”carrot can do eith the base provided in water. Thus tasting them needs a bit more of this fluid, in my opinion.

    Whichever. Sit back and ladle up. It’s good news!

  3. Hurray! I love following the Dutch Table, and now I can enjoy Dutch cuisine and culture on Dutch Review! Thanks from the States!!!!!! Gotta get cooking!!!!!! Dag!

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