Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Hernkeitto, Finnish Pea Soup
Thursday is the day hernkeitto is traditionally enjoyed throughout Finland and Sweden, where it is dubbed ärtsuppa. In my plant-based version I sidestep the ham hock and celebrate its vegetables. Classically finished with a spoonful of spicy mustard and tender marjoram leaves takes this soup to a higher level. Add a dollop of thick soy yogurt if you like. For a special Nordic meal serve with Finnish barley rieska flatbread, paper-thin chards of Swedish rye sourdough knäckebröd, or a good Danish rye sourdough rugbrød.
Serves 4 to 6
Prep time Overnight soak to peas plus 30 minutes
Cook time 90 minutes
1 pound yellow or green split peas
1 yellow onions, cut in medium dice
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves only
4 shallots, cut in medium dice or 1 entire leek, sliced in half, rinsed thoroughly, then cut in ¼-inch slices
3 bay leaves
6 allspice berries
2 thin-skinned potatoes, cut in large dice
3 carrots, peeled, cut in ¼-inch slices
2 stalks celery, cut in ¼-inch slices
For yellow peas only, a pinch of saffron threads
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Spicy brown or Dijon mustard to taste
Shiro (mild, white) miso to taste
Fresh marjoram leaves
Dried chili threads, balled
Thick cultured vegan yogurt
- Rinse and soak the peas overnight in cool water. Alternatively, add the peas to a 5-quart pot, cover with water by an inch, bring to a rolling boil, and then turn off the heat and steep the peas for an hour.
- Add water if needed to cover the peas by one inch. Add the bay leaves, onions, shallots or leeks, carrots and celery, and gently simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Add the thyme and potatoes and cook until the peas are tender and the potatoes are cooked.
- Remove the allspice berries and bay leaves.
- Steep the saffron threads in 1 tablespoon of hot water for 10 minutes. Stir the saffron tea into the pot.
- If you want to creamier texture to the soup, transfer 4 cups of the peas and soup broth to a stand blender, run until smooth, and add back to the pot.
- Season with white pepper.
- Serve in warmed bowls, seasoning each bowl with miso and mustard to taste.
- Garnish with fresh marjoram leaves and chili threads and/or a spoonful of vegan yogurt.