Traditional Dutch Pea Soup (a.k.a. Snert)





Introduction: Traditional Dutch Pea Soup (a.k.a. Snert)

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Step-by-step instructions on how to make the traditional Dutch split pea soup called "snert". Unlike the American variety, this is a thick soup full of vegetables and pork. A classic winter dish, it's commonly served with pumpernickel bread and cured, uncooked bacon.

Please note that I am not giving any ratios or amounts. I think all of the ingredients are essential, but, for example, you can add more onions if you like them, use less meat if you prefer and so on.

Step 1: Ingredients

Ingredients: Peas, celery root, celery leaf, potatoes, onions, leeks, carrots, pork chops, bacon, and kielbasa (in lieu of Dutch smoked sausage). Bay leaf, cloves, and pepper to taste.

Step 2: Celery Root

The key ingredient to this soup is the root of the celery plant. It imparts a very distinctive flavor.

Step 3: Meats

This soup is chockfull of meats. Specifically: pork. Slab bacon, cut into chunks; a bone-in pork chop (or pork feet, traditionally) and Dutch "rookworst", a smoked sausage. You can substitute one of those vacuum sealed Kielbasas for the rookworst, or better yet, a fresh Kielbasa from your local Polish butcher.

Step 4: Start

Put peas in pan along with the pork and chopped up bacon and some bay leaves and cloves. Bring it to a low boil.

I usually eyeball it, but I think the ratio is around 500g split peas to 1 liter of water. If it gets too thick too soon, just add water.

Step 5: After a Couple of Minutes

It'll start to foam. Remove the foam with a slotted spoon.

Step 6: Prepare the Rest of the Ingredients

Peel the potatoes and the celery root, and cut into big chunks. Do the same with the onion, the carrots, and the leeks.

Step 7: Leaf Celery, or Celery Leaves

If you can find it, use leaf celery ("Zwolse Krul"). Otherwise, get some nice leafy celery stalks and chop up the leaves. You won't need the stalks; save them for a Bloody Mary or something.

Step 8: Add Everything to the Pan

and bring it to a nice slow boil.

Step 9: No Set Time.

This can easily take an hour, or more. It doesn't really matter. You'll know when it's near to done when the veggies start to dissolve and the peas are starting to bind the liquid.

Step 10: Close to Done.

Remember that pork chop at the bottom of the pan?

Step 11: Shred the Meat

Take the pork chop out of the pan, and shred the meat. Remove any bones.

Step 12: Look at That Kielbasa

Just look at it!

Then, cut it up in chunks and add it to the pot, along with the shredded meat from the previous step.

Step 13: This Is the Look We're Going For

The soup will have thickened considerably. This is probably around an hour and a half in.

Step 14: Done

When you can stand up a spoon in the soup, it's done and ready to serve.

Step 15: Serve!

And enjoy.

You can refrigerate or freeze any leftovers. 



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    If boerenkool is broccolli, which I suspect, I would add it. Probably some mushrooms as well.

    3 replies

    Boerenkool is curly kale, and mashed with potatoes and served with sausage, is another classic Dutch winter dish. It has no place at all in this traditional pea soup, and neither do broccoli or mushrooms. That is to say, I guess you could add whatever you'd like, but it wouldn't be "snert" anymore.

    The Germany do an excellent Pea soup with smoked pork loin and sausage.

    But also Grünkohl --> Boerenkool (best eaten after the first frost) and

    again - Kassler (smoked pork loin) and Kohlwurst (smoked and unsmoked) made for just this dish. If in Northen Germany well worth trying both.

    I am a great fan on the Netherlands Pea Soup too!

    Boerenkool translates as kale, used in another Dutch staple food, the Boerenkool Stamppot. It's basically just cooked kale mashed together with potatoes served with smoked sausage.
    When adding mushrooms dried ones would be best, along with a bit of dry sherry. Taste-wise it wouldn't be very necessary here, unless you would make it vegetarian.

    Looks really good just like the way my Mom makes it. My Father, who is in heaven now used to say "Snert, hou je broek fast!" I have no idea if I spell this correctly but I think it is Frisian for "Snert, hold your pants tight (or closed)" referring to the fact that this dish contains lots of fibre which may cause you to... never mind ;-) You get the idea.

    1 reply

    Hehe I will have to remember that! Funny

    Great, almost the same way as my mother did in Netherland. I live in the Philippines and make this "snert" too. Sometimes it will, special when it is warm, turn into a very unteasty sour soup is a short time. Not eatable.
    If it is ok the people here like my "snert" always and want more.


    hmm, im wondering how much countries (behalve nederland en "omstreken" natuurlijk) actually know this soup...
    i've heard of "goudse" cheese in the US, but also heard it's like plastic
    so if snert is known there, would it be the "fake" version of it?

    3 replies

    This soup or Snert as we know it is well known in Australia too

    You can get all kinds of Gouda cheese here in the US, imported directly from Holland. No problems there. Americans are also well aquainted with split pea soup. But it's nothing like "snert": its rather thin, doesn't contain many other vegetables aside from the peas, and not nearly as much meat -- usually just some cubed ham.

    "goudse kaas" isnt copyrighted or something, so any cheese maker can use it, imported or not :P

    anyway, i prefer soup in cans, not that good, but alot less work for 1 person :P

    great recipe :) wil def give this a go

    looks delicious, but why isn't it entered into the homemade soup contest? i'd definitely have voted for it

    1 reply

    It *was* entered in the contest. Thanks for the compliment.

    "snert is a personal thing. There are family recipes all over the country and every bowl of snert tastes different. I like this recipe because it doesn't give any quantities so you can figure out what you like best.

    Could also be that you are keeping stuff secret because you will participate in the world championship "snert" cooking :-) (in Dutch)

    1 reply

    The only rule of thumb is this: 500g split peas per 1 liter water. Everything else is personal taste. I based this recipe on how my mom cooks it, but you're right, every family probably has a slightly different version.


    Wow, looks great. Love celery root, I'll have to try this!

    This is quite different from the erwtensoep I learned to loath as a child, I might give this one a try. Definitely no boerenkool added though.


    Ik heb net m'n buik vol met boerenkool :-)

    Goeie i'ble!

    Well I'll be switched. It really is called "snert" and it very much looks like dinner for me in the near future.