Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A lost case for the winter days

Today is the day I learned "rookworst" is a typical Dutch food. Who knew?


Rookworst translates to 'smoked sausage'. (It's those massive chunks of meat you see in every picture.) It consists out of ground meat, salt and several spices. It comes in so many variations I can't even explain. You can buy pork or beef, high or low fat, fresh or commercially-packed. One thing they all have in common is the size and shape. They're always 'large' and always in the shape of a U that comes together at the ends. Do you ever eat anything like that? Or can you find it in shops?


And this special Dutch sausage is an ingredient to a typical, traditional Dutch dinner: erwtensoep. Another name for it is "snert" meaning 'something of no worth' or 'lost case'. But in normal English we can call it pea soup. Funnily enough, in abnormal English we also call it pea soup.

Note: the recipe written down by mother and contains a lot of Dutch ingredients. Since it is so very hard to translate '1 bag of soup vegetables' into an actual language, I'll try to explain anything that might not be clear below the recipe. 

Erwtensoep (Dutch pea soup)
1 large pan - by my mommie


large pan of water (the black one*)
4 bouillon/stock cubes
500 grams dried green (split) peas
2 rookworsten**
1 fresh sausage**
1 bag 'soup vegetables' (500 grams)
2 leek stems
3 potatoes
3 large 'winter' carrots
Handful parsley or celery (or both)

1. Bring the water to a boil with the stock cubes.
2. Add the (whole) sausages and the peas.
3. Cut the leek, chop the carrots, chop the potatoes and add to the soup as well.
4. Bring to a boil again and then leave to simmer.
5. After half an hour take out the sausages and slice them into chunks. Cover and set aside.
6. Leave the soup to simmer until done. This might take a while as the peas need to turn soft.***
7. Once the peas are soft, puree the soup in a blender or use an immersion blender. An erwtensoep is not real unless it has some chunks in it, so try not to puree the soup too finely!
8. Put the soup back into the pan and bring to a boil. If the soup is too thick at this point, add more water (it is very likely you'll need more water). Once the soup is boiling again, add the sausage chunks and leave for a few minutes for them to heat up. The soup is done!

* Hint: approximately 3 liters.
** You can also add chunks of bacon. Or a bone with meat. Or ham.
*** How to make peas turn soft: 1) Cook very long. 2) Leave to soak in water overnight. 3) Use fresh or canned beans. Maybe it helps!

Let's start with the sausages. Since rookworst is so very Dutch, I'm going to guess that no one apart from Dutch people can get their hands on this. But don't worry! Any plain sausages will work. Or bacon, or a bone with meat, or ham. My mom already came up with all the alternatives for you!

No, I should've started with the pan. Our family is really not famous for it's precision when cooking; we "feel" our food. So you'll be fine with 3 liters, give or take 2 liters. Really, just pour some water in a big pan and see how it looks. This is how we roll here!


Then we've got 'soup vegetables'. In Holland this is just a pack with vegetables you can buy from any random supermarket. Typically it contains leek, carrot, celery, cabbage and parsley. Since you're already buying all the ingredients you might as well add a bit more carrots, leek, celery and parsley (you get to pick your favourite!). Or you can think of adding a bit of cabbage to the soup.

Translating a recipe is harder than I thought. Especially the part in which you have to explain all the ingredients. But I think I've done it! I love sharing these family recipes. Perhaps you'll be seeing more Dutch food soon... Do you guys have any traditional pea soup recipes? What kind of ingredients do you add?

2 comments:

  1. I always learn so much from your posts! Nope - never heard of rookworst, either! I've gotta say, though - my favorite part of this post is learning that there's actually a food (split pea soup) called snert! Snert?!?!? That's the most hilarious food name I think I've ever heard! Can't wait to share this gem with my kiddos - they're gonna love it!

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    1. Haha, I´m too Dutch to actually be fascinated by the word I think. I´ve heard it all my life! I wish I was there to see your kids laugh at our brilliant dutch soupname! xD

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