Have to be fair. Yesterday I gave a recipe for Gazpacho, a soup from Spain to serve for World Cup watching.
Now on to the Netherlands. I’ve been working on a recipe for a summer version of Dutch pea soup. Dutch Pea Soup (Erwtensoep) is thick and smoky, made with dried peas and a ham hock or bacon. It’s one of my favorite winter soups but it’s too heavy for a summer day.
Here’s the one I came up with. It has fresh peas and it’s as light as a feather. I’ve made it with yogurt and buttermilk. Either way, the recipe works, and it’s very refreshing. The jewel green color is lovely too. To get that smoky flavor of Erwtensoep use some bacon — but you can also substitute fake bacon (Morningstar Farm soy strips).
I had a friend once, a much older woman named Ro whose family escaped Holland during World War II. She always said she hated Dutch Pea Soup. She was such a gracious and gentle woman and yet when she talked about pea soup she would get an impossibly angry look on her face. One day she told me about the time when she was a young girl and her mother served pea soup. She didn’t want to eat it. Her father made her sit at the table for hours and hours, past her bedtime and she kept refusing to eat. Finally she fell asleep at the table and when she woke up the pea soup was still there. She finally gave in and ate the soup, now cold, for breakfast. But she never ate pea soup again.
Ro is gone now but I would like to think she would try — and even enjoy — this recipe.
Summer Dutch Pea Soup
4 ounces Morningstar Farms veggie bacon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and chopped
6 cups vegetable stock
6 cups shelled fresh peas or 3 (10-ounce) packages frozen peas
3/4 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
extra plain yogurt or dairy sour cream or creme fraiche
Cook the bacon in a soup pot for 5-6 minutes over medium heat or until it is crispy. Remove the bacon and all but a film of fat from the pan. Crumble the bacon and set aside. Pour the olive oil into the pan. Add the onion and potato and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, cover the pan and cook for about 12 minutes or until the potato has softened. Add the peas. Cover and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the cover and remove the pan from the heat and let cool. Puree the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Whisk in the yogurt. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with a blob of yogurt or sour cream and some of the crumbled bacon. Makes 6 servings
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