I have returned from my hiatus after a year of settling into our new house. It is amazing the amount of time that houses take up. However I am now ready to resume my blogging life and share more recipes. I also have a new fancy camera, which I am still getting used to, so apologies for the different size of pictures in the post, I'm still working out what all the buttons do.
To start us off I am sharing the soup recipe that I made for people to try at my talk on Danish cooking at the Savour Kilkenny Food Camp. It seemed to go down pretty well with my audience.
This is famous dish in Denmark and is typical of their style of peasant food. My dad used to make this quite a bit when we were younger but I only made it myself for the first time recently. It is a delicious, cheap meal that is easily frozen and reheated for lunches.
The Danes traditionally serve the meat on the side of the dish on a communal platter, which I like to do when I cook it the first night. I then like to chop up any remaining meat and mix it into the leftover soup for another day. A quick note on the sausages; I used big barbeque sausages from my butcher that were about 6 inches long with an inch diametre. Try and use the biggest sausages you can find as they make for a better finished product to slice. It would also be worth experimenting with different types of sausage in the soup, I think a Bratwurst would work quite well.
This soup is thick, rich and nourishing - what more could you want for a winter's evening?
Unfortunately this soup has to be started the night before, so you need to be a little bit organised, but after that it is plain sailing.
Measure out the yellow split peas into a sieve and rinse them under water. Place them into a medium to large sized saucepan.
Add 1 litre of the water to the pot, cover and leave the peas to soak overnight.
The next day, prepare the vegetables. Roughly chop the carrots and parsnip.
Roughly chop the celery retaining the leaves to one side for later. Chop up the leeks the same way and again retain the green tops (washed clean) to use later.
Finally, peel the pearl onions.
Now take the leek greens, the celery, the parsley and thyme and put them into a muslin square or bag. This makes a suppevisk, the Danish equivalent of a bouquet garni. You can also just bind the herbs and greens together with food safe twine but I find the muslin easier for fishing out of the pot later in the cooking process.
Put the ham into a large saucepan and add the rest of the vegetables and the suppevisk.
Just cover the meat in water - this took 2 litres in my giant pot, but may take less in yours. Bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 2 hours.
Next bring the split peas to a simmer in the water they were soaking in. Skim any scum that appears off the top.
Continue to simmer the peas for an 1 - 1½ hours until all the water has been absorbed and the peas resemble a thick porridge.
Fifteen minutes before the end of the meat cooking, add the sausages to the main pot and cook for 10 - 15 minutes.
Once all the meat is finished cooking remove the suppevisk, sausages and ham from the pot. Dispose of the suppevisk. Keep the meat warm by wrapping in tinfoil or putting in a warm oven.
Add the peas to the vegetables and cooking liquid and bring to the boil for 10 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, slice the sausage and ham and arrange on a platter or side plates, ladle the soup into bowls and enjoy with a good craft beer. Traditionally this dish is served with Danish snaps, a near lethal spirits made from potatoes but beer makes a much nicer accompaniment.