Pea soup after a day in the snow

Dutch pea soup is easy to make with these vegetables
Dutch pea soup is easy to make with these vegetables

Easy peasy pea soup

Nothing beats a hearty, warm bowl of Dutch pea soup after a long ski. A few times over the winter, we make a big pot which we enjoy over a number of days. Pea soup is one of those comfort foods that are filling, easy to make and easy to freeze and heat up in the microwave later in the season. Recently, a day after I made the soup again, Karen had a colleague over whose roots lay in Burundi. She liked the soup so much that she wanted the recipe. Putting the recipe together, I thought I might as well share it on line.

Adapted Dutch pea soup recipe

I have been using the Internet to search for Dutch pea soup recipes, but the problem is often that the Dutch use all kinds of commercially available mixes. A recipe would say for example, ‘add a kruidenbuiltje’, basically a mix of herbs from Dutch grocer Albert Heijn. Or they’d add a <company X> pre-cut soup vegetable kit. So I have been adapting recipes over time, converting them to Canadian measuring sizes along the way. I try to stay close to the original recipe, but remember you can play with the ingredients: a carrot or a potato more or less doesn’t really matter.

Skiers in Gatineau Park
Skiers in Gatineau Park

Meat free

The ‘real Dutch pea soup’ contains pork meat, a smoked sausage and bacon. This obviously adds to the taste of the soup, but meat is also a fairly costly exercise. Over the last year or so we are slowly weaning ourselves off meat. That is not to say we don’t eat it, but for animal welfare and budget considerations, we can do without. Also we found now we get older, we need to eat less anyways.

Recipe

So here is a recipe that tastes just as well, can be made with locally available ingredients and serves at least 8. While you don’t have to be in the kitchen for two hours, count on some time for the peas to break down completely, therefore it’s probably a weekend project. Bonus: if you cook on electricity, the prices are low in the weekend plus you should have enough for a few more servings during the week.

an abundance of well groomed trails in Gatineau Park
An abundance of well groomed trails in Gatineau Park

Easy peasy pea soup ingredients

some oil or butter

2 mid size onions

2 leeks

3-4 carrots (the big version)

2 liters/8 cups of water

bouillon (vegetable stock is fine)

2 cups/300 grams of dried green split peas

2-3 medium size potatoes

-> You could add bay leafs, garlic and some celery stalks if you like, but I tend to not bother.

Some recipes call for a celeriac as a non-starch replacement for potatoes. If you use it, cut it up in half inch cubes

Snow shoe at Lac Philippe
Snow shoe at Lac Philippe

Getting started with the pea soup

Start the fires and add some oil or butter to the pan (keep it on medium heat so the veggies won’t burn)

Cut up the onions and add to the pan

Cut up the leek and add to the pan

Cook and stir on and off for a few minutes

Add the water, bring to a boil gradually and stir regularly, else the peas burn to the bottom and you get this black gunk in your soup. It will save you from fishing black bits from the soup later

Add bouillon, one cube per 2 cups according to instructions, but you may want to add a bit less

Once the water boils, turn it down to medium low and add the dried peas. You can soak the peas first, but I don’t bother

Let it simmer on low to medium low heat for 30 minutes for the peas to break down

Add the carrots here, so they can boil in the hot water

Peel and cut the potatoes (or the celeriac) in half inch cubes and add to the soup

Simmer for another 30 minutes minimum for the potatoes to cook and to further disintegrate the peas

Smoked meat

If you crave meat, you can add a smoked sausage ten minutes before you serve it, cut it up in small slices. I buy them either in the Dutch store in Ottawa, on Clyde @ Merivale or use a similar smoked meat sausage from Loblaws.

The soup may thicken in the fridge, but if you don’t like that, add some water and stir it through the soup before you reheat it.

It may sound like a quite bit of work and it is certainly not the easy gratification of the drive-through at McDonald’s, but part of the time the soup is just sitting there simmering away, and you have time to do other things, like waxing your skis for example.

Enjoy!

Hans

The Gatineau ski patrol at Champlain look out
The Gatineau ski patrol at Champlain look out

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