Traditionally served at the coldest time of year, New Year’s Day, this heart-warming soup (colloquially called Snert) is a real rib-sticker. Tradition dictates that a good “snert” should be so thick that a wooden spoon will stand up straight in it and this one certainly fits the bill. Flavour-packed with a nostalgic vibe, this soup is a family favourite.
2½ cups split peas, rinsed
600 grams smoked pork bone/ham hock
125 grams streaky bacon, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 large leek, trimmed and chopped
2 stalks of celery, sliced (reserve some of the leaves for garnish)
2 medium floury potatoes, peeled and chopped
1½ cups frozen peas
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
300 grams rookwurst (Dutch sausage)
Put split peas, ham hock, bacon and bay leaf in a large pot with 2 litres of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes. Skim any scum that appears on the surface and stir occasionally.
Add the vegetables and ground cloves and cook at a simmer for another hour. At this point, remove the ham hock, slice the meat from the bone and return to the soup, then cool and refrigerate overnight.
Before serving, use a stick blender to whiz about half of the soup (or as much as you like) to create a slightly smooth yet rich thick texture. Add 200 grams sliced rookwurst and reheat for 20 minutes, so both soup and sausage are hot. At this point you may thin the soup a little to your desired consistency with a little water or, for a decadent option, cream.
Cover remaining rookwurst in water and simmer for 20 minutes while the soup is heating. Serve soup garnished with celery leaves and remaining rookwurst, drained and sliced. Lovely with crusty bread for scooping and dipping.
Pantry note: Rookwurst is available at most supermarkets. I used Verkerks.