If you’ve been thinking ‘Baby, it’s cold outside’, then it’s time for Dutch Pea Soup, winter’s ultimate comfort food. This rich thick soup is a complete meal in itself – the stick to your ribs type of soup that warms you from the inside out.
Back when I was growing up this soup was started with pork hocks and this hearty, fatty fare was actually necessary considering the conditions of those days. We slept in unheated bedrooms, school buses were not heated and since girls were not allowed to wear slacks to school it meant we froze while waiting for the bus and while on the bus. We covered our shoes with plastic overshoes which kept out the snow but failed to keep out the cold, etc. We needed those extra fats and calories to counteract all that.
Now with central heating, insulated long-johns, heavy duty socks and boots, heated transportation everywhere, and in general, a more sedentary lifestyle, we no longer need all that. As a matter of fact, those fats and calories will now do us more harm than good. Therefore I now start the soup with a lean meaty hambone. No matter though, it still tastes great.
Here’s my recipe for dutch pea soup, using simple, low-cost ingredients that turn into a filling soup, great to ward off winter’s chills.
Dutch Pea Soup:
- 12 cups cold water
- 2 cups (450g – 16oz) quick-cooking, dried, green split peas
- 1 meaty hambone
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large (2 small) bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste, added at end of cooking.
Place the peas in a heavy pan, like a dutch oven. Add the hambone, cover with the 12 cups cold water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Skim any foam that forms. Put a lid on the pan and turn the heat down a notch or two so that the soup continues to simmer gently for 1-2 hours. This is a thick soup so it needs to be stirred occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom.
Remove the hambone, add the celery, carrots, potato, onion and bay leaf and continue to simmer for another hour or two. Cut the meat from the hambone into small pieces, add it to the soup and let simmer another 15 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
- Dutch Pea soup tastes great the first night but even better the next day. That makes it a great soup to make on a weekend for serving on Monday evening.
- This soup can also be made in a slow-cooker starting with the peas on the bottom, then layer each of the veggies on top, add the hambone, 3 cups of broth and 3 cups of water, the bay leaf and just let it simmer away for the day. Follow regular instructions for adding salt, pepper and the ham meat.
- Dutch Pea Soup freezes well so any leftovers can be frozen in meal-size portions. Lovely to have on hand for those really crazy, hectic days.
We had a lot of soup at home – probably because it was a low-cost way of feeding a large family. Whatever the reason, we always enjoyed our soup with this Dutch Pea Soup being a winter favourite. Hope you enjoy.
Talk to you again next week,
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