scandinavian yellow pea soup

Swedish friends have heightened our awareness of Scandinavian cuisine. For example, those weird celery roots you find in the supermarket that are clearly not roots of celery—that's a typical Scandinavian ingredient. [Apparently this obvious root takes its name from its celery-like taste.] We've used it once but this time took the easier celery route. Thanks to the increasing popularity of IKEA, we didn't have to search for dried yellow peas, for the typical Scandinavian soup of the same name, although later Fresh Fields moved in and made this ingredient readily available. We had some on hand waiting for the day our woman's mag recipe could be put to the test. We'd already tried the no-frills recipe from a Scandinavian cookbook—this one seemed much more interesting with leeks, potatoes, rutabagas. A sure thing. Unfortunately we overlooked the small detail of overnight soaking.

how to avoid thinking ahead with dried beans/peas

Instead of soaking dried beans/peas overnight in cold water covering them by several inches and then draining the next day, you can be like us and do the pressure cooker alternative. Clean and rinse the dried legumes and put 6 to 10 cups of water (2.5 qts) per 2 cups (about 1 lb) legumes in the pressure cooker. Cook at low heat 5 minutes. Then remove from heat, lose the pressure, drain in a colander and rinse under hot tap water. We only realized this trick reading our pressure cooking book while we were faking it with an improvised technique which sort of amounted to the same thing, almost.

how to have a ham bone on hand

This recipe execution began with the free cooked smoked ham ani got from her company at Christmas. We would have preferred a real bonus, but seeing as how we got the ham, and had the ham, and now had the ham bone, we were ready for some kind of ham bone based soup like this one. The real recipe actually calls for a ham hock or smoked pork shank (?), but it's good to be flexible in the kitchen—the first step towards creativity.

how much?

By cross-referencing all our legume soup recipes, we learned that one pound of dried beans is about 2 cups. Our digital scale was only doing metric readouts and not very well since the weight seemed to fluctuate by plus or minus 10 percent, so this was useful information. It took us many years to finally dispose of the scale. The typical corresponding amount of water is 10 cups, which if you have one of those glass 4 cup equals 1 quart graduated kitchen liquid measuring things (what are they called?), equals 2.5 quarts, though some recipes go low at 2 and others high at 3. We did a 2.5 and added a cup at the end before serving to thin it up a bit.

how to save time

Use a pressure cooker. This is (was) the nineties. Who has time to wait hours for soup? An 8 qt pressure cooker. A supercooker works better for interrupting the steam.

what stuff to use:


1 lb or 2 c yellow peas, whole or split
1 lb ham hocks or 1/2 c finely chopped ham or 1 ham bone from a free ham
1 onion, finely chopped
1 T chopped fresh or 1 t dried thyme
10 c water
2 c diced potatoes
2 c diced rutabaga (yellow turnip)
1 1/2 c chopped leek
1 T salt (?)
1 cup hot water
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4) options
add some carrots
add more leeks
hold the rutabaga


  1. Do the pressurized or the overnight presoak as explained above.
  2. Then pressure cook the first set of ingredients for 30 minutes.
  3. Depressurize and add the second set of ingredients. Pressure cook 10 minutes.
  4. Depressurize and puree a few cups in a blender and return to the pot with about a cup of hot water to thin it a bit. Add the freshly ground pepper.
  5. Keep on warm 5 minutes to make sure it's hot enough to serve.


  1. Watch out. During the second phase we had the heat too high without thinking since the steam rocker maintains the correct pressure independent of the heat, but of course does not control the direct heat transfer to the bottom of the pot. We burned the bottom layer a bit and had to transfer the soup minus the burnt layer to a new pot. Not fatal. Be flexible.
  2. This is similar to red lentil and rice soup.
scypeasp.htm: 7-jan-2002 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]