Holland vs Netherlands

Online sightseeing of The Netherlands.

Erwtensoep (pea soup)

When days are cold and grey, nothing warms me better then homemade pea soup. My dad has a notebook with a handwritten recipe from his school, where he makes delicious pea soup from. Mhmm.


Pea soup or split pea soup is soup made typically from dried peas, such as the split pea. The Dutch version of pea soup is called erwtensoep or ‘snert’. The thick stew is traditionally eaten during the winter, is emblematic of Dutch cuisine. The Dutch believe that erwtensoep should be so thick that you can stand a spoon upright in it, making it a whole meal. That’s why it is often eaten the next day when the flavors are better mixed and the soup thicker.
It’s traditional to serve this hearty winter soup with slices of rookworst (smoked sausage) and rye bread topped with katenspek (a type of Dutch bacon that is first cooked, then smoked).

So called ‘koek en zopie’ outlets, small food and drinks stalls which spring up only during winters along frozen canals, ponds and lakes in the Netherlands and cater to ice skaters, usually serve “snert” as a hearty snack.

In Suriname, a former Dutch colony, Dutch-style pea soup is eaten as a street food.

Dad’s pea soup recipe.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 4


10 cups of water (2,5 liter)
21 ounce split peas (600 gram)
9 ounce pork chops (250 gram)
1/2 celeriac
2-3 carrots, sliced
head of celery leaf
1 leek, sliced
sliced smoked sausage (rookworst)
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring water to boil with split peas and pork meat. Skim off any froth forming on top. Put the lid on the pot and leave to boil softly for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally (it may catch if you don’t).
Take the pork chop out with a pair of tongs, debone and thinly slice the meat. Return the sliced meat into the soup. 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.

1. Celery leaf is sold as a herb in Dutch supermarkets, but you can easily substitute the tender green leaves in the center of a regular bunch of celery instead for that authentic Dutch touch.
2. I often prefer to serve the soup chunky, in which case I don’t bother to puree it. But it looks much more presentable when smooth.
3. Prepare a day before eating for the best soup.
4. You can easily freeze pea soup. When you do keep, the soup a bit thicker than you prefer it for eating.

Eet smakelijk!

3 comments on “Erwtensoep (pea soup)

  1. lidyseysener
    December 17, 2012

    thanks stefka – i’m going to make this soup. my dad had a similar recipe and i always loved coming home on a cold winters afternoon to some pea soup for an afternoon snack. xxx

  2. piratelooksatforty
    November 2, 2013

    I just started a pot this morning. My father also had a recipe. His ancestors came to the US from Gronigan in the 1850, so many of the foods we ate growing up were Dutch. Pea soup was often served. My father was a master when it came to cooking this. I could never get enough. My husband doesn’t like it, so I’ll probably end up freezing small portions.

    • hollandexpert
      November 10, 2013

      Haha that’s how it works with me as well. My dad is a great pea-soup maker and I get portions to store in the freezer :-). Do you know it is best eaten the next day after you made it?

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This entry was posted on December 14, 2012 by in Dutch and tagged , , , .

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