Snert, snert, snnneerrrtt. The more you say it, the less likely you are to want to eat it. But trust me, although this short little word may sound inedible, its namesake is certainly not!
Snert (also know as Erwtensoep), is in fact, the Dutch word for traditional pea soup. This classic Dutch winter staple is a hearty meal in itself. There are endless variations on this dish and family recipes all tend to differ slightly. Some say the only true rule of thumb is to ensure 500g of split peas per litre of water. Others claim the soup is only a success if a spoon can stand fully upright on its own. One thing is for sure, you’ll rarely find a Dutchie who doesn’t have an opinion on what it really takes to make the perfect bowl.
Do you have your own winning recipe? Why not enter the Pea Soup World Cup? Think I’m joking, guess again! The 21st edition of the Snert WK will take place on 20 February in Groningen. Now, go get practicing!!
- 300 g (1.5 cups/10.5 oz) dried green split peas (if you use whole peas, you will have to soak them)
- 100 g (3.5 oz) thick-cut bacon
- 1 pork chop (5-6 oz/150 g)
- 1 stock cube (vegetable, pork or chicken are all fine)
- 2 celery sticks
- 2-3 sliced carrots (1/2 cup/ 3.5 oz/ 100 g)
- 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 small leek, sliced (1/2 cup/ 3.5 oz/ 100 g)
- 100g celeriac, cubed (1/2 cup/ 3.5 oz/100 g)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- handful of chopped celery leaves
- a handful of sliced smoked sausage, e.g. Rookworst (a Dutch smoked sausage) or frankfurter/wiener sausages
- Boil 3¾ pints of water (1.75 l) in a large soup pot, along with the split peas, stock cube, pork chop and bacon. Skim off any froth forming on top as the pot starts to boil. Put the lid on the pot and leave to boil softly for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally (it may catch if you don't).
- Carefully take the pork chop out, 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.
- If you prefer a smooth consistency, puree the soup with a stick blender until it is as chunky or smooth as you like. 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.