Cheap, Cheerful and Delicious

Beating the Budget, One Pea Soup at a Time

With today’s economic climate as unpredictable as Cape Town’s weather, we find ourselves holding on to every extra penny we have. It is difficult these days to cater for a group of people without burning a hole in your wallet, but there are recipes that are delicious and affordable.


This week we explore the humble pea soup. I know that most people have a grandmother or mom that makes the best pea soup. For years I heard about how great my girlfriend’s grandmother’s pea soup was and for years I tried but nothing could compare. After much refinement and testing I came up with this recipe, and finally the dispute was settled, judged not only by my girlfriend but her grandmother as well. Enjoy!


  • 1 pack of dried split peas
  • 1 small pack of frozen peas
  • 1 large joint of smoked pork, must have a bone, I like eisbein
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3l good chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1tsp smoked chilli flakes
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1tsp paprika
  • A big handfull of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a deep pot over a medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and fry for a couple minutes or until the onion starts to soften.
  2. Next Add the dried peas, meat and stock. Add all the spices, bring the soup to a boil and then  reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook 2 hours, making sure no ingredients stick to the pot.
  3. After 2 hours of cooking, take the joint of meat out of the soup. Also check if any liquid is needed in the soup, if it is a bit thick, add some boiling water.
  4. Cut all the meat off the bone and remove most of the fat, leaving a little behind to add flavour. Cut the pieces of meat into bite size pieces and return to the soup.
  5. Cook for a further 1-2 hours, the peas should be soft and the soup should be a thick and chunky consistency.
  6. Lastly add the frozen peas and heat through, season and add the mint, remove from the heat and serve hot.

Get your mates to bring different kinds of bread, toast till crispy and dunk away.

Chef’s Tip

Halve the amount of mint and replace it with a bit of chopped basil. Also, crispy fried onions and feta go really well as a topping for the soup.

View more from our ‘Dinner Party Recipes‘ series.

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