“This IS Erwtensoep!” – Dutch Pea Soup via Nashville


There is a sweet and funny family story that inspired me to make my own version of Erwtensoep or Dutch Pea Soup. If you are lucky enough to know my partner Wouter, a Dutch man who tells a good story, you may also have heard the tale of him and his late Mother Elizabeth’s restaurant meal concerning “This is NOT Erwtensoep!”


Now, according to Elizabeth real Dutch Pea Soup has no potatoes even though you can order it many places in The Netherlands with this addition. Her firm belief in the absence of potatoes…a long-suffering Waiter, and Wouter…as well as a bowl of pea soup led to a bit of hilarity that only exists in the retelling. I leave it at that.

After much research and discussions with Wouter about Dutch Pea Soup, combined with my fondness for all things “peas and potatoes”, I made this cross-culinary version using Southern USA country ham hocks, split green peas and baby Yukon gold potatoes. It is a most delicious soup. Although Elizabeth is no longer with us and she might possibly declare “This is NOT Erwtensoep” I do believe even she would find it tasty. Bon Appetit and Laten We Eten!


These little salt and pepper ducks that I bought in Budapest last summer look right at home in this multi-culinary setting. A Dutch Pea Soup made with Southern USA Ham Hocks and seasoned with Salt and Pepper from Hungarian Ducks!


A photo of shelves and shelves of cans of Ertwensoep I took on our last trip to Amsterdam while grocery shopping.

Erwtensoep - Dutch Pea Soup



  • 1 1/2 cups dried split peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 4 cups low-fat chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • water
  • 1/4 lb piece of lean ham hock or a country ham slice if you cannot find hock
  • 6-8 baby Yukon gold potatoes, cut into chunks
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt


  1. Put split peas, broth, onion and about 2 cups of water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer and add the ham hock or country ham.
  2. Cook for 20 minutes and then add the potatoes. Simmer another 20 minutes or just until split peas and potatoes are softened. Add more broth or water if need be.
  3. Remove the ham hock and shred the lean meat and add back to the soup. Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste. Serve hot.

Teresa Blackburn    www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com    www.foodonfifth.com


30 thoughts on ““This IS Erwtensoep!” – Dutch Pea Soup via Nashville

      1. I love your blog and have nominated you for a Creative Blogger award. There are five rules: Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog, Share five facts about yourself, Nominate five bloggers and add their links, Notify the bloggers you included and Keep the rules in your post. Check out my post and hope to see you nominate along!:) karenskitchen.wordpress.com

  1. In the usual German version there is “Suppengrün”, so-called soup vegetables (a bit of leek, carrots, and knob celery) and some potatoes as well. And we might add a few sausages…:-) I just love this kind of thick soups. I always cook a large pot and it even tastes better when you re-heat it the next day 🙂

    1. I feel you can make the pea soup without the actual “ham bone” …I know there are a lot of different soup bases out there,maybe ham or pork base can be found? Otherwise I would use chicken soup base with the peas and veggies and let simmer to your taste till smooth and creamy. See how that works❤️

    2. Hi and thanks for stopping by. I do believe you could just not use the ham…I often leave out ham pieces to soups such as this to go the meatless route as well. Just maybe use more salt and black pepper and toss in some thyme for flavor.

  2. Fun fact: a real dutchie eats the soup the day after you make it, because the taste would be better (even more better after defrosting). I like that you’re multi-culturing the recipe! But I miss knolselderij (celeriac), winter carrots and parsley what is typically for the taste of this soup.

    1. Thanks for the feedback and yes, you are correct, the next day the soup is even better. I think most soups are don’t you? Great to hear from you and again for sharing your knowledge.

  3. Indeed, Elizabeth’s declaration about the soup has translated to many un-soup related situations in our family. The southern translation would be “that’s just not right….” or “well, I just don’t know about that”! Either way, the soup and photos look wonderful.

  4. I like pea soup, just had some at a restaurant yesterday. I like your version with the potatoes even if it’s not a proper erwtensoep. 🙂

    1. I know this one really got the opinions flying didn’t it? I, of course, have never met a pea soup I did not love regardless of the additional ingredients but those Dutch love their Erwtensoep and don’t mind sharing their ideas…Just like we Southerners and our biscuits and cornbread! Thanks Nance.

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