Grochówka. Oh, where do I begin? One of my favourite soups growing up, I remember just how excited I was coming home from nursery, running into the kitchen. A little 4 year old me, standing on my tiptoes peeking into the great big pot (I think the pot was probably normal in size, perhaps I was just really, really small?). “Is it ready yet, dad?” I’d say impatiently. Of course, the answer was always “not yet”.
You see, growing up in Poland was different. We lived in a tiny, one-bedroom, 4th floor flat. Dad had three jobs – he was a full-time electrician at a hospital at which my mom was also a full-time cardiac nurse. He was a part-time painter and decorator and on the evenings he had off, he was a payday loan collector – and he had the best little helper (me) distributing leaflets around the block. Anyway, my point being living in Poland back then was hard. We only just about managed to pay our bills. We struggled, and we struggled a lot. It was not uncommon for us to have soup for dinner three or four times a week. Soups are cheap and filling, so I see why my parents cooked the way they did. Whilst my sister wasn’t so keen on the soup for dinner idea, I was over the moon every time I found out grochówka was on the menu.
Grochówka (also known as “zupa grochowa”), is simply a yellow split pea soup. It is a hearty and nourishing soup, traditionally made using leftover ham bone but this vegan version uses vegetable stock instead.
This popular polish soup is usually enriched with potatoes and diced carrots or other root vegetables, making it really filling and full of flavour.
Polish Yellow Split Pea Soup (Grochówka)
- 2 litres water
- 250 g dried yellow split peas
- 1 vegetable stock pot or cube
- 4-5 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1/2 small parsnip, peeled and sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp soya cream
- Place the peas in a large pot filled with water and bring to a boil. Add the vegetable stock cube or pot and cook for 20 minutes.
- Peel, rinse and chop the potatoes, carrot and parsnip. Add to the pot.
- Add the olive oil to a large frying pan. Add the onions and fry over low-medium heat for 4 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Take off the heat, add the flour and stir before adding it to the pot. Add a dash of soya cream and cook for a further 35-40 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as required.
- Serve warm with a slice of buttered bread.