Split Pea Soup

Hearty split pea soup is a Dutch staple. This recipe for traditional split pea soup with smoked eel filet and foam of truffle comes from Dutch chef Ron Blaauw.



3 quarts water
2.2 pounds split peas
1/2 pound smoked bacon, sliced
1.4 pounds beef
3 teaspoons salt
1 large onion,sliced
1 leek, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
4 branches parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves
8 black pepper corns
Piece of mace
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
Smoked eel filet (for garnish)

Truffle Foam

7 ounces truffle tapenade
1 3/4 cups cream
1 3/4 cups poultry bouillon
6 3/4 tablespoons truffle gravy
1 teaspoon agar agar (vegetarian gelatin substitute)
3/4 cup egg yolk



In a five- to six-quart pan over medium-high heat, stir bacon often until brown. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels; set aside. Discard all but two tablespoons fat from the pan, and then add leeks, celery, onion, mace, carrots, herbs, and spices. Stir often over medium heat for about 15 minutes.

Return bacon to pan with split peas, broth, and one quart water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer until peas are mostly dissolved, about 90 minutes; stir soup occasionally. Serve hot with truffle foam topping below.
Cut the smoked eel filet in long, thin bands and use as a garnish.

Truffle Foam

Put the cream and poultry bouillon in a pan and cook over low heat. Add the truffle tapenade. Pour the mixture into a blender and mix thoroughly. Add the truffle gravy and pour through a strainer. Add the agar agar, return to the pan, and let the mixture cook for two minutes. Put this mixture on the egg yolk and blend into a foam. Top each bowl of soup with the foam.

Servings: Serves ten

Dutch Mussels

Fried Dutch mussels are a traditional favorite appetizer item. This recipe is from Florine Boucher’s cookbook devoted to mussels, Mosselkookboek.


4 1/2 pounds fresh mussels in the shell
6.7 ounces dry white wine
1/2 pound leeks (white and light green parts) cleaned
4 1/2 ounces lightly smoked streaky bacon, thickly sliced
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 ounce unsalted butter
Fine sea salt and freshly milled black pepper


Clean the mussels and put them in a sauteuse pan with the wine. Bring to a boil, and cook just long enough for all the shells to open. Drain and remove the mussels from the pan.

Halve the leeks lengthwise and cut them in finger-thick slices. Cut bacon slices in very small pieces. Heat the oil in a large skillet, turn down the heat to medium, add bacon, and stir-fry until the bacon begins to render its fat (don't let it get crisp).

Add leeks and stir-fry until they just begin to soften. Lower the heat, add the butter, and when melted, stir in the mussels carefully. Simmer together just long enough for the mussels to warm up. Add salt to taste and be generous with the pepper. Serve on a heated platter with warm French bread or ciabatta. Any leftover mussels can be used the next day to stuff an omelet.

Servings: Serves four to six

Hot Cocoa

Ward off the Amsterdam chill with a steaming mug of “Unlimited Delicious Hot Chocolate” from chocolatier Kees Raat of the city’s popular Unlimited Delicious confectionery. www.unlimiteddelicious.nl


1 quart milk
5 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
3.5 ounces cocoa powder


Pour the milk, sugar, and pepper in a medium-size saucepan. Keep stirring to avoid burning the bottom until almost cooked. Put the cocoa powder in a big bowl and add one cup of the hot milk. Mix the milk and cocoa powder. Add the mix to the rest of the milk in the pan and keep stirring. Stir until it starts cooking and thickens. Pour the hot chocolate into cups and enjoy.

Servings: Serves four


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