Thanks to the new ‘Flashback’ feature on this blog and to the enthusiasm of Shanna of Curls and Carrots, it is time for another international food blogging project. Recently I featured Classic Dutch Pea Soup as a Flashback from two years ago, and Shanna commented she wanted to prepare a variation of the recipe. I first reacted that I couldn’t imagine erwtensoep (the Dutch word for this dish that is very popular in winter) without pork (as I guessed that was the reason for the variation), but then I suggested that perhaps a version with lamb could work. Enthusiastic as always, Shanna loved this idea and suggested we both try this. And so we did, and now we are doing a simultaneous post to share our efforts with all of you. Click here to check out Shanna’s!
Why did I think of lamb as a replacement for pork in the first place? There were two reasons: the first reason is that for erwtensoep pork shank is often included as one of the main ingredients. Lamb shank came to mind as a good substitute for that. The second reason was that lamb is often paired with a mint sauce, and peas are often paired with mint as well. It is not uncommon either to pair all three of them together. And that is what I did. And guess what? It worked very well! The lamb pea soup was still hearty and perfect for winter, but slightly more elegant than the pork version. The mint gave it a freshness that made it even more elegant. The biggest difference in the flavor profile is that erwtensoep has smoked pork sausage as one of the most characteristic flavors. A similar lamb sausage is not available. I did include lamb sausages, but simply poached them in the soup as I do not own a cold smoker (yet?). Perhaps I’ll try hot-smoking the lamb sausage next time. Anyway, here’s what I did.
2 lamb shanks, about 500 grams (1.1 lbs)
3 lamb sausages, about 225 grams (.5 lb)
250 grams (1 1/4 cup) dried split peas
1 onion (about 100 grams), minced
1 celery stalk (about 100 grams), minced
1 carrot (about 100 grams), minced
1 litre (4 cups) lamb stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh mint, chopped