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.