Split pea soup is one of the best soups in the world. I remember as a kid I would get so excited about the special treat of split pea soup when I found out that my mom was making it for dinner. This was one meal that I actually looked forward to the leftovers, as it gets better the next day!
I’ve tried to imitate my mom’s recipe… throwing the usual split peas, bay leaf, potatoes, carrots, and bacon into a pot and letting it simmer for hours. My recipe is close, but just not the same as Mom’s home cooking. I even decided to get crazy once and make split pea soup with cabbage (which is also very tasty).
Recently I went on a 3-week European vacation and tried Dutch Pea Soup in Amsterdam (pictured above). I love my mom’s soup, but THIS soup was amazing! It had a flavor that I had never experienced before. I wanted to order another bowl so bad, but didn’t want to look like a pig (so I went and got a cone of french fries instead).
Split pea soup is one of the traditional recipes in the Dutch culture. I knew I had to try and imitate it at home. The result was close, but not exactly like the soup I had in Europe. I guess I’ll just have to go back to try it again!
This recipe is based off of the many recipes I found around the internet for “Dutch Pea Soup.” A lot of them called for so many different cuts of pork, some felt like the soup was more of a pork dish with a side of split peas. After making it, my soup had too much pork… and I cut back! The soup I had in Amsterdam had a fair amount of pork inside, topped with a handful of smoked sausage on the top.
Dutch Split Pea Soup
- 2 cups dried split peas
- 1 large carrot
- 1 leek
- 2 onions
- 1/2 celery root
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 4 oz bacon
- 5 pork ribs
- 2 potatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: smoked sausage
Note: I also used a pork chop, cut into pieces, in this soup. I omitted it from the list above because I felt it was overkill on the pork and the ribs alone were much more tender.
Rinse the split peas and toss them into a big pot.
Next, place your pork ribs on top of the peas. I could only find boneless pork ribs on the day I went to the store so I chopped them up before I cooked them. If you use bone-in pork ribs, you will need to add a step later of removing the bones.
Cut the bacon into small chunks and add it on top of the peas and ribs.
Chop the onion, carrots, celery root, the white part of the leek (discard the thick green tops), and potatoes into small chunks and add all of it to the pot. Don’t stir it yet!
Add a few dashes of salt and pepper.
Then add the stock to the pot, turn it on medium-high heat.
Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and let it cook. Set your timer for 1 hour and don’t stir it until then (It’s hard to resist, but just don’t do it!). The smell will be amazing!
After 1 hour, give it a good stir. Set your timer for another hour and a half.
Check it and stir it every so often. Add more stock or water if it starts to get too thick. After the timer runs out, check the meat- If the ribs pull apart easily, then they are ready. If you used ribs with bones, fish out the bones, tear the meat off and return the meat back to the pot.
Give it a taste and add more salt or pepper if you like. Serve it hot in a bowl and top it with a handful of chopped, cooked smoked sausage. Store the rest of the soup for leftovers, as it will be even better tomorrow!