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Split Peas - what sort of prep is necessary before cooking?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I just made a split pea soup for dinner (I've only been cooking about once a week for a year or so, and this was my first time cooking split peas). The flavors came out really nicely, but even after blending the soup had a course or brittle texture, almost as if the peas hadn't finished cooking yet. I was under the impression that once they were cooked enough to bite into easily, they were done (I'm thinking a similar feel to al dente pasta is what I'm supposed to be going for - is that the right direction?). I did taste before blending (stick blender), and the peas were tender, but even at that stage a little brittle/gritty. Should I have let them simmer a while longer, or would it be better to pre-soak the peas before cooking? If so, what would be a good pre-soak time? Since they're split, I would imagine they'd soak up water pretty quickly. Also, could I use the pre-soak (if it's even necessary) as an opportunity to flavor the peas?

I know that's about a million questions, but any help with any of them would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

PS: I did check through the peas for stones before using, and I did rinse them - that much I figured out on my own, but that's my limit (so far).
RJM

Someone told me that the fastest way to lose weight is by eating home-cooked meals.

They aren't eating what I'm cooking.
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RJM

Someone told me that the fastest way to lose weight is by eating home-cooked meals.

They aren't eating what I'm cooking.
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post #2 of 10
Hi hungry,

You're instincts are telling you the right things.

The split peas need a rinse, pick over for any skins/stones, then drain, fresh water to cover by half inch or so and some soaking time. This is not set in concrete as to how long to soak them. The longer you soak them, the shorter the cooking time.

I soak mine about 3 hours, or even overnight in the fridge.
Drain, then put into pot with fresh water, couple of bayleaves, some diced carrot and celery. The peas soak up water like crazy, so cover them by a good inch, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, then cook covered about an hour. Test for done-ness and flavouring. They should have very little "chew" in them at all, even before the stick blender.

My favourite way is to bung a smoked pork hock bone in when I first start them on the fire. If its something you would have, definitely give it a go. Just pull the bone out at the end of cooking. Cool and chop up the meat if you like to add back in after blending. It's nice. If you don't have a pork hock, even trimmed off bacon rind can add some flavour. Tailor it as you like it.

Make sure to remove the bay leaves before you blend :) (count them when you put them in). I'm super fussy with my blended soups and sieve them with a fine strainer. I find it wastes some soup, but makes for a better mouth feel.

And definitely, if you have it, some cream/sour cream/greek yoghurt on top to serve. And some croutons. That's all from me :)

DC
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #3 of 10
Take a full teaspoon of your peas and mash against the roof of your mouth with your tongue. You should be left with only a yummy creaminess. Al dente doesn't apply here. Agree with DC..ham hock and bay leaves are the way to go...try tossing in a few chopped carrots ...leave them fairly large if you don't want any orange bits floating around. Gives the soup a bit of background sweetness.
post #4 of 10
There was a very similar post on this last week; http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/food-...es-burned.html that may answer some of your questions.

This phenomenon of persistenly hard peas or beans is very common; there are many reasons, some may have nothing to do with the way you cook them (farm conditions, storage conditions...etc...) and some have alot to do with the way you cook them.

If you want to cook any pea or bean into mush, then you should always follow the same steps:


Presoaking (even split peas, although having no skins, should still be soaked to reduce cooking time). Add salt to the soaking water and soak for 12-16 hours at fridge temps, 10-12 hours at room temps, 3-5 hours when blanched into boiling water. (or until doubled in weight- just weigh them undrained, and then later drained)

DO NOT ADD SALT TO THE COOKING WATER!! This reinforces the hemicelluloses and makes it significantly harder to cook to mush- add your salt AFTER its cooked...

... But definately add baking soda! (0.5% or 5g/l) this can reduce cooking time by upto 75%.

If your not getting them into mush then, then its got nothing to do with you and I would buy more peas!
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone. I'm pretty sure that the peas are OK - they come from one of the most respected markets in the area. As soon as I tasted the soup I figured that I was the problem, not the ingredient. Next time, they'll get their soak.

Also, I asked this in the other thread too, since I thought the persons following it might be curious, but I was wondering if stock would have too much salt to allow the peas to cook in a reasonable time. Thanks again!
RJM

Someone told me that the fastest way to lose weight is by eating home-cooked meals.

They aren't eating what I'm cooking.
Reply
RJM

Someone told me that the fastest way to lose weight is by eating home-cooked meals.

They aren't eating what I'm cooking.
Reply
post #6 of 10
it depends if its a natural stock or powdered boullion or stock-cube. Simplest way to check if its salty... a stock isn't salty until salt is added.

Salt in small amounts won't usually ruin it (but it can), add some baking soda when cooking in the stock and i'll bet you my right foot that it'll turn to mush in half the time.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Alrighty. Thanks again for all the wonderful info!
RJM

Someone told me that the fastest way to lose weight is by eating home-cooked meals.

They aren't eating what I'm cooking.
Reply
RJM

Someone told me that the fastest way to lose weight is by eating home-cooked meals.

They aren't eating what I'm cooking.
Reply
post #8 of 10
Chris...I will be making a bean soup today and wondering if the baking soda is to be added to the soaking liquid and then discarded...or add to the cooking liquid and if so how much per quart of water? Using a ham bone and don't want to over salt.
post #9 of 10
per quart? errrr.... I'm a metric man. But 0.5% is what you're aiming for, so 5g/l. And add it to your cooking liquid, its not neccassary to add to the soaking liquid; a little salt will help (in the soaking liquid NOT cooking liquid) but can make the texture a little mealy (instead of creamy) especially with beans.

If you're making the soup today then perhaps (i'm not sure what time it is there) then its a little late for a cold soak; may I reccommend adding them to boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes then let them sit in the cooling water? It'll reduce the soaking time to 3 hours or so.

Irrelivant on ham bone, don't salt until the end.
post #10 of 10
would the taste differ as to oppose to using frozen peas?
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