Tuesday, 20 November 2012
Dinner last night was a craving that just needed to be mollified. The funny thing is I hated Erbsensuppe or Pea soup growing up. To me it was a big vat of insipid grey green mush with a couple of hairy pigs feet with all their knarly hoofiness adding to the vomit like substance. Hungry yet? Funny how our childish imaginations can turn something so benign into something only Hans Christian Anderson could dream up. Now however Erbsensuppe tastes like home and one spoonful brings back such wonderful memories of growing up in Germany. Sadly it still lacks something in the looks department but those pigs feet where in fact ham hock and gave the soup it's earthy smokiness.
This recipe is from Luisa Weiss a fellow part time German who now calls Berlin her home. Her book 'My Berlin Kitchen' is full of fantastic recipes from the mother land and I spent a wonderful two days being transported back to my childhood in Hamburg reading it. She calls it a love story with recipes and you don't have to have lived in Germany to appreciate her story or the food. You can also follow Luisa on her blog The Wednesday Chef
Erbsensuppe (German Pea Soup) from My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1/3 cup minced Speck or lean bacon
1 leek, white and pale green part only, cut in half lengthwise, well rinsed, and then sliced into half-moons
1 medium carrot, diced
1/2 small celery root, diced
1 tbsp fresh marjoram, minced
1 1/2 cups dried split green or yellow peas
5 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
freshly ground black pepper
4 Wiener Wurstchen or hot dogs
Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart pot. Add the minced onion and bacon. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes; then add the sliced leek and stir well. Cook for another 7 minutes. Add the carrot and celery root and stir well. Cook for a few minutes. Add the minced marjoram and a pinch of salt, stir well.
Pour in the dried peas and the broth. Stir well and cover. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
Add the diced potatoes and stir well. Cook for another 20 minutes. Taste for salt and add freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Cut the Wurstchen or hot dogs into bite-sized rounds and add to the pot. Warm through (don't let the soup boil once you add the Wurstchen) and serve immediately.
For those not on the meat ladder, you can make this without the bacon and sausage, but as much as I hated those scary 'pigs feet' growing up, they really made the soup, the Wurstchen or hot dogs are a little more friendly and easier to deal with though. It's still a good soup vegetarian style, but sadly not the same.