Swedish Yellow Pea Soup Ärtsoppa Recipe

Swedish pea soup
Nicole Branan/E+/Getty Images
    2 hrs 30 mins
Ratings (20)

This Swedish dried pea soup recipe, known as Ärtsoppa, is an immensely gratifying, warming soup traditionally made from dried yellow peas and served on Thursdays in Sweden, followed by crepe-like pancakes with whipped cream and preserves (Pannkakkor) for dessert. Try swirling a teaspoon of grainy brown mustard on top of each serving of soup to enhance both the presentation and the rich combination of flavors. You also might enjoy these 9 Warming and Nutritious Nordic Soups and Stews.

Here are three more hearty pea soup recipes:

What You'll Need

  • 1 pound dried yellow or green peas (whole if you can get them, but split ones work just as well)
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 finely chopped onions (2 cups)
  • 1 peeled whole onion studded with 2 cloves
  • 1 large chopped carrot (1/2 cup)
  • 1 meaty ham bone -or- 2 to 3 ham hocks
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grainy brown mustard

How to Make It

  1. Rinse and pick through 1 pound of dried yellow or green peas. If using whole peas, soak the peas overnight in water to cover by about 2 inches (this isn’t necessary if using split peas so long as you can let the soup simmer for 2 to 3 hours).
  2. Fill a large pot with 8 cups of water or 6 cups if you like a thicker soup. You can always thin it with water as you go along if it looks too dense.
  3. Add the drained peas, 2 finely chopped onions, 1 peeled whole onion studded with 2 whole cloves, 1 large chopped carrot, and a meaty ham bone (or 2 to 3 ham hocks).
  1. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam, then cover pot and reduce to a simmer over low heat for 90 minutes.
  2. If using whole peas, skim off any pea skins that have risen to the surface. Remove 2 to 3 cups of the soup, puree in a blender or food processor, and return puree to the pot (this helps to thicken the soup).
  3. Continue to simmer for at least 30 more minutes, even another hour or more won’t hurt it.
  4. Thirty minutes before serving, remove the studded onion and the meat. Chop the meat (it should amount to about 1 cup) and return to pot.
  5. Season the soup with 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1  teaspoon salt, and 1/8  teaspoon pepper. Simmer 15 more minutes.
  6. Serve, passing around grainy brown mustard to stir into the soup to taste.
  7. All that’s left is to say, “Det är jättegott!” (in Swedish, “Yum!”).

Edited by Barbara Rolek