Dutch split pea soup - Erwtensoep
, or, as it's affectionately called, snert
I know I already posted a picture of this somewhere upthread, but as I was making the soup on monday, I felt it was impossible not to share this with you. Erwtensoep is a real Dutch classic - simple, rustic winter comfortfood.
What you need for a very large pan of soup:
500 grams splitpeas
Fresh pork. You can use various types, a hamhock, pigs feet, ribs. Here I have over a kilo of porkribs, and because I felt they were maybe not meaty enough, some extra pork shoulder, chopped up.
Salt pork. A small piece of salt, not smoked pork.
Smoked pork. Smoked pork sausages are traditional, but bits of smoked bacon could be added as well.
Vegetables. Here I have a couple of large potatoes, 2 fat leeks, 3 onions, 2 large carrots, a small celeriac, half a bunch of parsley and half a bunch of celery leaves. You don't have to be too precise about the amounts.
Now, a couple of points that will transform ordinary splitpea soup into the sublime Dutch snert..
- Chop up your vegetables fairly small. You want them to dissolve into the soup.
- Don't add the smoked meats until at the very end, or your soup will get a harsh and too smokey flavor. Snert is supposed to have a very mellow, sweet flavor, with the contrast of little bits of smokey meat.
- Most recipes tell you to use 2 litres of water for 500 grams of splitpeas. This gives you a thick soup fast, but not the complex flavor you're after. So I use 4 litres of water for 500 grams of peas. I simmer the soup for 2 hours covered, and then for about 2 hours more, uncovered.
- Long, slow simmering is what gives this soup it's character. There are no shortcuts! During the latter part of the cooking, when the soup is getting thicker, it needs a lot of attention. I't burns easily and stick to the pan. You will need to stir it and scrape the pan at least every 15-20 minutes.
- Don't eat it the day you made it. Really. This is going to be hard, because it smells so good, but trust me, tomorrow it will be even better.
So. Throw everything, except the smoked meat, into the pot with 4 litres of water and a couple of bayleaves. Add salt and pepper, easy on the salt if you're using a large piece of salt pork.. Bring to the boil. While it comes to the boil, you can spoon off some of the scum that rises to the surface, but to be honest I'm not very thorough about that...
When it boils, lower the heat and make sure this is simmering slowly. Simmer for about 2 hours, stirring often. Uncover the pan and simmer for a couple more hours, stirring even more often. The house is smelling heavenly by now.
Take the meat out and separate meat and bones. This should be really easy.
Shred the meat, get rid of the very fatty bits, and put the meat back into the pan. Slice your soked meats and put them in the soup. Simmer for about 30 minutes more. It should look like this
taste it and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
Let it cool. As it cools, it becomes so firms that a spoon will stand up straight..
Next day, serve!
I don't know if you can see it in this picture, but the texture has changed overnight, and the soup has become even more smooth and thick.
edited to add: I know this does not look pretty.. but if only you could smell it.. as we were eating it yesterday my husband said, I wish you could put this smell on the internet for those EGulleters..
Edited by Chufi, 18 January 2006 - 04:37 AM.