(Swedish yellow pea soup)
Ärtsoppa (AIRT-soh-puh) is a thick yellow pea soup traditionally served on Thursday evenings in Sweden, along with ham or sausages and pancakes with jam. A similar soup made with green split peas and called hernekeitto is eaten in Finland.
Whole-grain mustard is always served on the side with ärtsoppa, and diners stir a little bit into the soup to their taste. In Sweden, whole dried yellow peas are used for ärtsoppa, but you can use yellow split peas instead. Either way this hearty soup is inexpensive, nutritious, filling and tasty.
4 to 6 servings
- Yellow dried peas, whole or split -- 1 pound, or 2 cups
- Salt pork, diced -- 8 ounces
- Onions, chopped -- 2
- Carrot, peeled and chopped -- 1
- Stock or water -- 6 cups
- Thyme -- 1 teaspoon
- Marjoram -- 1 teaspoon
- Bay leaf -- 1
- Allspice berries -- 4
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Rinse the peas with cool water. If you are using whole dried yellow peas, soak the peas overnight in water to cover. Or for a quick soak, place the peas in a saucepan with water to cover them by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then cover tightly, remove from heat, and let soak for about an hour. Drain the soaked peas and rinse. If you use split peas, presoaking is not necessary.
- Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium flame. Add the salt pork and saute until it renders its fat. Add the onions and carrot and saute until the onions are softened and translucent, but not colored, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add the peas, stock or water, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring frequently, until peas break down and thicken the soup.
- Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve hot with coarse-grained mustard on the side. Each diner stirs mustard into the soup to their taste.
- Add some chopped ham or a smoked ham bone to the simmering soup for more flavor.
- Stir in 1 teaspoon of dried marjoram or 4 or 5 allspice berries for added subtle seasoning.