Monday, February 08, 2010

Erwtensoep (split pea soup)

Oh, the ubiquitous split pea soup......when it's cold in Holland and people go ice skating on the lakes and the canals, the traditional picture is that a small shack "koek-en-zopie" sits next to the ice selling hot split pea soup and coffee with cookies for those tired and cold after such a wonderful day on the ice. I'll be darned, but each time I've gone skating I've never seen one of those shacks. May have something to do with the fact that I've only been skating once or twice in my life and the experience was so unpleasant that I may have blocked the memory of a soup shack. I fail miserably in the skating department, it is a very un-Dutch side of me.......

But I hopefully redeemed myself by making a very good split pea soup: it even passed the "wooden spoon" test! (i.e. the soup is so thick that a wooden spoon will stand up on its end and not fall over when stuck in the soup).  Hand over those bitterballen, I'm back!

2 cups of split peas
4 cups of water
1 carrot, peeled
2 ribs of celery
1/2 an onion, peeled
1 bay leaf
black pepper
pinch of salt

About 12 little smokies or half a kielbasa

Rinse the split peas and remove anything that doesn't belong (stones, sticks, dried up discolored peas...). Put the peas and the water in a Dutch oven. Mince the vegetables and add to the peas. Bring to a boil, add the bay leaf and simmer for about 40 minutes. When the peas are soft, either puree or just stir several times, the peas will dissolve and make a creamy soup. Stir in the smokies or the kielbasa (slice before adding), heat until warm and taste. Add pepper and salt if needed.

This is an easy, quick solution. I keep a pack of smokies in the freezer. Split peas do not have to be soaked in order to cook quickly so you can have this soup on the table in less than an hour.

Traditionally, this soup is served with dark rye bread and pancetta.

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