Traditional Dutch Split Pea Soup

The Ultimate Winter Recipe. Make this if you feel cold. Or are hungry. Or because it’s still officially winter. “Snert” is a classic Dutch recipe; an amazing, slow-cooker winter dish. It’s cheap, healthy (packs a punch with fibre), has bacon and sausage… it’s technically a soup, but made so thick it’s an incredibly filling meal. Living in a different country now, it gives us a little taste of one of our ‘homes’. If you’re visiting the Netherlands in the winter, you can get some very local flavour of Dutch split pea soup at the markets!

Dutch split pea soup is officially called erwtensoep, but snert is the slang term for it. The Dutch love it so much they’ve given it two names.

It’s easy to make but takes some time for the soup to simmer down until it is deemed ‘thick enough’ to be proper erwtensoep. In terms of variations, the traditional split pea soup recipe has few. Some add potatoes and celery as additional vegetables, and either a pork knee or ham-on-bone instead of the bacon. The smoked sausage, however, is a must; and if you want to do it the proper way, get one from Unox or Hema. Because that’s how the Dutch do it!

How do the oh-so-practical Dutch test if their soup is thick enough, and thus ready to eat? By sticking a spoon in it, of course. If the spoon stands up straight, it’s ready!

Split pea soup recipe. Perfect for winter!
You thought I was joking, didn’t you?

erwtensoup ingredients

Prepare you ingredients. First, rinse the split peas twice and put them in a pot with twice as much water.

One step in making traditional split pea soup

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Skim the foam off the top. You can see the bowl for the foam next to the pot- less of a mess. Add the bacon, bay leaves and stock cube, and let simmer for an hour. Stir occasionally.

Prepare the carrots for split pea soupCut leek length-wise and then across for half-moon shapes

In the meantime, cut your carrots and leek into half-moon shapes, and chop your onions and celeriac. Add to the soup and let simmer for another two hours. Once very thick (very little water left), take it off the heat and let it stand overnight, or for a few hours. This lets it thicken even more. 15 minutes before serving, add the cut smoked sausage and heat.

Dutch Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup with bacon and smoked sausageEet smakelijk!

Traditional Dutch Split Pea Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The perfect winter recipe.
  • 500g dried split peas
  • 300g bacon or pork
  • two carrots, peeled, cut length-wise and then chopped into semi-circles
  • 1 leek, cut length-wise and then chopped
  • Celeriac, peeled, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Large smoked sausage
  • Beef stock cube
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • To serve: dark rye bread and ham
  1. Sort through the split peas, and rinse. Put on stove with twice as much water and bring to a simmer. Take the foam off the surface every once in a while.
  2. When there is no more foam, add the cubed bacon, stock cube and seasoning. Let simmer for an hour.
  3. Chop the carrots, leek, onion and celeriac. Add to the soup and simmer for two more hours. Stir occasionally.
  4. Once the soup is very thick, take off the heat. Leave on countertop overnight (or for a few hours) to cool down and thicken even more.
  5. When ready to eat, add the smoked sausage and heat for 15 min. Traditionally served with dark rye bread and ham.

 Recipe adapted from Coquinaria

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