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Food columnist: Make yellow pea soup, a traditional Scandinavian favourite

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Wendy Barrie is founder of the Scottish Food Guide and regularly contributes to The Courier’s food and drink magazine, The Menu. Here she brings us this recipe for yellow pea soup.

Yellow pea soup has been a tradition since medieval times in Sweden, originally served as a nutritious Thursday supper prior to non-meat Fridays in line with their religious beliefs.

The custom of Thursday pea soup is still popular in many households, at school lunches and in the army mess – always with pancakes, whipped cream and jam for afters.

Serve with a wee dram of sweet liqueur.

Traditionally, the soup is served with Skansk mustard. However, we also enjoy it with Galloway wholegrain mustard when in Scotland.

As it is based on cured pork and yellow peas it makes sense to cook a large batch when I have just boiled a Ramsay ham as I then have two litres of ham stock, a perfect base for the soup, with some ham trimmings added. If not, you can improvise by boiling a pork bone in the pot, giving you stock with meat to shred off the bone.

Frying a few chopped rashers of bacon with the onions at the start also works if you do not have a bone, then add only water, never commercial stock, and season more generously.

Yellow pea soup

(Serves 6-8)

Yellow pea soup.


  • 600g yellow split peas (available at Ardross Farm Shop) soaked in a bowl of cold water overnight
  • 2L ham stock
  • 2 large onions, peeled & chopped
  • A generous scrunch of dried marjoram leaves
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • Skånsk or wholegrain mustard – added for garnish and served at side
  • Summer Harvest rapeseed oil
  • 75-100g cooked ham, chopped or shredded


  1. Add a drizzle of rapeseed oil to a large soup pan and soften chopped onions with the marjoram over a medium heat. Season with pepper but no salt as there is ample in the stock.
  2. Add ham stock and bring to the boil. Add the drained yellow split peas, stirring.
  3. Maintain a rapid simmer, lid on for an hour or so, stirring from time to time until the peas are soft.
  4. When the soup is ready, add chopped ham and heat through.
  5. Serve with mustard to taste and that wee dram.

Top 100 Women in Tourism 2020

Scottish Thistle Award Regional Ambassador (2018/19) for Central, Tayside & Fife Founder & Director of award-winning and Leader in Scotland for Slow Food Ark of Taste & Member of Slow Food Cooks Alliance.

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