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In The Netherlands, virtually every eetcafe, every pub, serves Erwtensoep – split pea soup. (They also serve very good tomato soup. The Netherlands grows large quantities of delicious tomatoes. Who knew? Not me.) We got home from two weeks in Amsterdam and I was craving it.

Here is my version, made with what was available. This could become more elaborate or more spartan, depending on what’s in your pantry. Vegetables can be added or subtracted at will – try turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes, greens – but always in moderation, and in proportion to the other ingredients. A ham hock or two would make this heartier, as would bacon/salt pork – or skip the meat altogether for a vegan soup that will still be very satisfying and delicious.


  • 1 cup split peas (yellow or green)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup minced green cabbage
  • 1 small potato, washed but not peeled, diced
  • 1/3 pound ground pork
  • 2 small Bratwurst, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons uncooked rice or pearl barley
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon savory
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Stupid easy: Combine in crock pot/slow cooker, turn to high, bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer until split peas fall apart and dissolve. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired.  When soup is done, you can add one cup milk if you like.  This will thicken upon standing.

Serve as is, or add 1 tablespoon sherry and one tablespoon sour cream or plain yogurt to each bowlful.


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