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Winter Warmer: Make A Hearty Soup

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Sabine Schneider
Sabine Schneider

Last week I've been riding home on my bike and getting so frozen that I was dreaming about coming in from the cold and finding a steaming hot bowl of Äzesopp, which is a split pea soup that is a speciality from the region in Germany where I come from – the Rhineland.

In winter it’s sold there almost on every street corner and makes for a very popular fundraiser. I remember this soup from my childhood when it was made with pork hock and other cheap pork cuts. For convenience and speed it’s now made with bacon and frankfurter sausages.
Split pea soup from the Rhineland (Rheinische Erbsensuppe)
– makes a big pot that feeds at least four –
500g green split peas (1 packet)
2 slices of free-range bacon (the one from sows that are not incarcerated and tortured before they die)
8 frankfurter sausages, cut into bite-sized rounds (don’t know where to get free-range frankfurters – any suggestions?)
3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
optional: you can add to this soup small cubes of carrot, celery or other vegies.
2 litres good vegetable or chicken stock (make your own or use stock cubes)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan, boil split peas in stock for about ½ hour on a medium heat.
Meanwhile, cut bacon into small bits and saute in a frypan until crispy. Set aside.
Add potatoes and other vegies, if using, and garlic to the split pea soup. Turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. If the soup gets too thick add a little water.
Add bacon bits and sausages and cook for another 10 minutes. Test potatoes for doneness. They should be soft, but not disintegrating (but don't panic if they're mushy, it doesn't really matter much).
Season well with salt and pepper. Serve piping hot with crusty bread or a soft bun on the side.

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