Yellow Split Pea Soup

I have eaten many forms of this cheery soup; London Particular, German Split Pea Soup made with bacon or wurste, and most commonly in (for me) Amsterdam, where it is known simply as ‘snert’ and is almost everywhere during the winter months. In fact, it’s a cultural tradition that is almost everywhere in the northwestern corner of Europe in the winter months. This soup  is usually made with ham stock and ham or smoked pork of some variety, but I’ve started to prefer to make a vegetarian version and then ring the changes throughout the week when having the soup for lunch. This also means I can give a bowl of soup to a greedy vegetarian. You can put sliced frankfurters in, a la Nigella Lawson (as I have here), or off cut chunks of ham,you could grill some bacon and serve it on top, some crumbled feta, or you could just sprinkle with paprika and olive oil. If you are not bothered about keeping this veggie, then I would make it with ham stock.

Makes 4 generous bowls, very easily doubled.

  • 250g yellow split peas (follow instructions on packet if they need pre-soaking)
  • glug olive oil
  • small carrot
  • small onion
  • small stick celery
  • 800 ml vegetable stock or water
  • bay leaf
  • 1 blade of mace, slightly toasted in a dry pan and bashed up or a good pinch of powdered
  • pepper

Cut the onion, celery and carrot into a fine as dice as possible, or blitz in a food processor until finely chopped. Warm a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat and put in your olive oil. When the pan is hot, put in the vegetables and cook them over a low heat until they have started to soften. If they start to fry or colour, the heat is too high. Add your bayleaf and mace, and then your peas and give everything a good stir. Pour in your stock, bring to the boil and then turn heat down, and gently simmer for an hour with the lid on. Keep checking throughout the process that the water hasn’t all been absorbed by the peas – you may want to top up with hot water from the kettle. Serve with desired accompaniments, as above.

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