Around the globe in 80 plates: Sweden

Today is Thursday, and that means today you eat Yellow split pea soup and pancakes, if you live in Sweden anyways.

The tradition of eating yellow split pea soup goes all the way back to the middle ages. It is thought that the soup was eaten on a Thursday as a hearty and fulfilling dish to keep people somewhat satisfied while they observed the catholic tradition of fasting on a Friday.

It might seem like a strange option, but peas were at this time were seen as a bit of a luxurious ingredient.

In the 1800s hot Swedish punsch (a rum based liqueur with arrack) began to be served alongside the soup. The traditional meal gained another addition of pancakes and jam being served as afters.

Even now every Thursday, many cafes, cafeterias, restaurants, serve split pea soup and pancakes, and it is most likely to be on the menu in most schools and to the armed forces.

The soup can be a long labour of love, I’ve adapted the recipe to make it a little quicker and with more accessible ingredients.

Traditionally this is cooked with a whole ham hock on the bone in the soup, this means that you may need to add a little more salt when seasoning. If you wish to use a whole ham hock, add it to the pan as you add the stock. Then take it out before blending, chop, and re add the meat.


500g of yellow split peas
500g of shredded ham hock
2 sticks of celery
1 onion
1tspn of thyme
1500ml of hot water
3 cubes of chicken stock
Oil for cooking
Salt and pepper


1. If needed soak your split peas over night, it will tell you on the packet if it is needed. If your peas are ready to use soak them for 30min to soften.

2. Finally chop your celery and onion. Place a large pan, big enough to hold your finished soup on a medium heat, add a little oil, the onion, celery and thyme and fry for around 10 minutes until translucent.

3. Drain your peas and add them to the pan, add about 1000ml of your water and 2 stock cubes, salt and pepper to taste. If you would like the soup to be thinner add the further 500ml and the other stock cube. Turn down the heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes to a hour.

4. Blend the soup, it is supposed to be chunky though so not to much.

5. Add your shredded ham hock and let simmer for another 15 minutes, add more salt if needed.

Served traditionally with mustard and rye crisp breads.

Enjoy x

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