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Danish Split Pea Soup

peasoup

In Danish we have the word “Hygge.” It is a better, even more embracing word than “cozy.” It is being with friends and family, flickering candles, laughter, tea in mugs, snow outside the windowpane, the smell of cinnamon and baking bread, Christmas eve, long mid-summer night eves around bonfires. It is a warm feeling of togetherness and gratitude. In short, it is a very happy word.

Danish split pea soup is a hyggelig soup to serve on a blustery fall night. Light some candles (this is important for hygge), serve the soup with buttered rye bread and a crock of mustard, sit down and feel the cozy glow spread.

Traditionally after pea soup we have crepes for dessert. That’s hygge continuing.

You need

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/4 celery root diced (optional, but very Danish)
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups dried split peas (yellow or green), rinsed
1 smoked ham hock, smoked turkey leg or 1 diced turkey kilbasa (optional)
1 thyme sprig
4 tablespoons chopped parsley and/or dill divided
Salt and pepper to taste

The topping:
2 medium onions sliced

To make 6 servings

This soup take about 15 minutes hands on, and one hour gently bubbling on the stove.

In your soup pot, heat the olive oil, and sauté the onions until golden. Add the remaining ingredients, including half the chopped herbs. Over medium low heat let the soup simmer under a lid for 1 hour. The soup will be done when the the peas are soft, and your house smells so very hyggeligt. In the meantime sauté the onions in a medium skillet until crisp, remove them with a slotted spoon and let them drain on some paper towels.

When the soup is ready to serve, remove the thyme sprig and ham hock or turkey, if there are any morsels of meat on the bone, cut them off and add them to the soup.

Taste the soup for seasonings.

Pour the soup into wide bowls, top with the onions and a sprinkling of herbs.

Vegetarian option: Leave out the ham, use vegetable stock

Slow cooker option: Sauté the vegetables and put them along with the remaining ingredients into your slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 6 hours.

 

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