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Split pea soup too crunchy

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone!

 

Every time I make split pea soup it foams up a lot while heating up.  Well this time I rinsed the peas really well and then changed the soaking water several times, and that seemed to greatly reduce the foaming.

 

But even with soaking, the peas come out crunchy.  Puree-ing seems to help some, but it never comes out really smooth and soft.  Any tips for this condition?

 

SK

post #2 of 26

Hi SK,

 

The only thing I know that gets rid of that crunchiness is time. I've always thought of pea soup as a longer process, not good for a quick dinner. My mum used to use a pressure cooker, but I simply put it in a crock pot or on low on the back of the stove, and I've never had that problem. That's probably not the answer you were looking for, but I don't know any way to rush this.

 

Alex

post #3 of 26

Here is a little trick for you . Add a pinch of baking soda to the soaking water. It will make peas more tender in a shorter time frame. It does however diminish the vitamin c content. Cook slow and stir a little every once in a while.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Buchanan View Post

Here is a little trick for you . Add a pinch of baking soda to the soaking water. It will make peas more tender in a shorter time frame. It does however diminish the vitamin c content. Cook slow and stir a little every once in a while.


I guess that makes sense. I've heard of adding a pinch of baking soda when making polenta to reduce time.  It must be the same reaction.

post #5 of 26

I soak my split peas for at least 3 hours although usually overnight, rinse off after picking out any loose skins, then cook in the usual way for a couple of house.  Then puree, then sieve.  Works for me.

 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 #6 of 26

I never soak my peas.. just rinse them. Therefore, I must conclude that my secret which no one has mentioned... is bacon! biggrin.gif

 

Actually I have well water, not sure if that makes a difference, but how long did you cook them? I cook split pea soup for several hours and have always enjoyed a smooth (as if pureed) consistency with random very small and soft bites of onion/carrot/bacon. After this cold snap tonight, I think this may be on the menu tomorrow night!

post #7 of 26

if your split pea soup is crunchy it is not done cooking.

there is no trick to it, it takes as long as it takes

if you are working from a recipe then you need to adjust the amount of liquid you are cooking it in, as it simmers the liquid will evaporate and the peas will break down making the liquid thicker, you should be able to make a proper split pea soup only using a heavy whisk to stir the soup to break down the pea till smooth no need to puree or strain unless you need to remove other flavorting additives like bay leaves or other herbs/vegetables

post #8 of 26

As mentioned, they're done when thye're done... But if theres salt in the water you'll be there forever.. Salt after not before.

"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #9 of 26

Interesting point, Bughut.

 

I normally use a ham bone (sometimes bacon) so there's already some salt, but didn't realize that was slowing it down. But that's good to know in case I ever make a quicker version - perhaps cook the peas separately from the broth until they soften? I normally don't season soup until the end (with evaporation you can end up with some briney suprrises), so I expect that whatever residual salt is in the ham or bacon isn't enough to prevent cooking. 

 

With my Scottish parents, Bughut, there was almost always a big pot of something brewing on the back burner, so time was the major ingredient. 

 

Do you know if that - salt later rather than earlier - applies to lentils as well? I use red lentils almost interchangeably in soups and Indian styled dahls, and sometimes want to rush a dahl in a way I wouldn't with a soup.

post #10 of 26

Sounds to me like your water. Do you have trouble getting other kinds of beans soft? I have this problem when I cook in Vermont, because the water at my parents' house there comes from an artesian well and is very, very hard. You just have to cook it forever --- there's no real solution to that.

 

The thing about not adding salt early doesn't apply with split pea soup. If you're cooking beans and you salt the water (or use very hard water), there will be essentially no distinction between the beans being cooked and their starting to fall apart. If you don't want beans to fall apart, you've got to use softer water. But with split pea soup, you want them to fall apart, so it doesn't make any difference. Yes, it takes longer, but it doesn't really change anything else.

 

So, as others have said, just cook it longer. You can't really overcook split pea soup unless you burn it, so just add more water if it's getting too thick and keep cooking and cooking and cooking. You shouldn't need to puree it either: when it's done, it will thicken and the beans will fall apart to bits without any help other than stirring. That allows you to keep the ham bits off the bone, and the bacon, intact in the soup. I think split pea soup is a rustic sort of thing, and don't like it overly smooth --- but it should not be crunchy.

post #11 of 26

Just a followup because I made split pea soup tonight. I did add salt before I ever added liquid during the sweating of the aromatics. Also, I use chicken stock as my liquid and if I need to add a little water it comes from a spring water bottle. The peas were basically to the point of breaking down into a thickened soup around 2 hrs of steady simmering. Another thing to point out, I use fairly high heat, and just come back and stir the pot about once every 20 minutes. I also hit it with an immersion blender after I know the peas are breaking down and it's ready to come off the heat, that was more to reduce a slight bit of thickness in the arromatics (celery, carrots) but I don't go overboard, I like some texture.

post #12 of 26

Its the peas, made some last night and didnt need the blender.  

 

Possibly could be the water, I check the EC of my water for the garden, it used to be about .5 and lately its been about .3, so its improved some.   Still think I just got lucky and found a package of peas that wasnt from two years ago.  

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by skewered View Post

Hi everyone!

 

Every time I make split pea soup it foams up a lot while heating up....



I wouldn't worry about foam or scum at all. It's likely to happen when making a lot of soups. Just keep it at a low simmer or the roll of the boil will mix it back in, and just skim it off as carefully as you can without wasting too much liquid.

post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone!  I realized that we're at high altitude, and that means water boils at a lower temperature.  Does that mean I must resort to a pressure cooker?  Or can this still be done stove top?

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by skewered View Post

Thanks everyone!  I realized that we're at high altitude, and that means water boils at a lower temperature.  Does that mean I must resort to a pressure cooker?  Or can this still be done stove top?


How high?  I'm around 5300', and like I said its hit and miss as far as how well they puree.  I've heard if you dont salt until the end they cook faster, but I've not found that to be true.  

post #16 of 26

A pressure cooker is your best friend.  I cook a ton of Indian food, and so beans, peas, lentils, etc. are part fo our daily diet.  Without the pressure cooker, we'd be there forever.

 

You can get through peas, lentils, kidney beans and other things in under 10 minutes and cooked perfectly.  We make dishes like khichdi in no time because of the pressure cooker.

 

For some things it doesn't work well -- in particular things that are compromised by additional moisture.  I wouldn't pressure cook potatoes for a gnocchi, for example.

 

Give it a shot.  You won't look back...

post #17 of 26

The split yellow peas would not soften up..............I finally put everything through my "smoothy Blender" and it tastes great.....looks strange......I believe it is old peas that causes the problem. But it's nice to know there are so many similar experiences....good forum 

post #18 of 26

I'm sorry but I don't agree with the response that it "takes as long as it takes."

When I lived in New England, I could make thick creamy pea soup no problem - the peas did their thing and worked great.

Now I live in high altitude in Colorado and I've tried to cook the peas overnight and they were still hard and did not thicken the soup at all.  The crock pot method did not work either.

 

I have a ham bone from yesterday and am going to attempt once again to make pea soup.  I am going to soak the peas in water with a bit of baking soda as suggested  I've also heard from TV chefs not to salt the peas, so I won't add any salt as I saute the onions, celery and carrots - I'll add the peas to saute at the last minute, then put in the chicken stock and the ham bone and see what happens - wish me luck.

post #19 of 26
What's your elevation? You boiling point is probably low enough that dry legumes won't cook. You'll need a pressure cooker to solve this problem at altitude.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #20 of 26

Odd....

Salt makes beans tough but baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) will help tenderize.

Anyone want to explain this?

 

mimi

post #21 of 26
Baking soda is a weakish base. That's why it reacts with acid to form CO2 for leavening. Bases break down organic material. Salt, such as in a brine, draws liquid out of the cells. When you're cooking a bean, all the water enters through that one discontinuity in the waterproof casing where it would sprout. This is slow which is why beans are so slow to cook. Salt hinders this. process.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

Baking soda is a weakish base. That's why it reacts with acid to form CO2 for leavening. Bases break down organic material. Salt, such as in a brine, draws liquid out of the cells. When you're cooking a bean, all the water enters through that one discontinuity in the waterproof casing where it would sprout. This is slow which is why beans are so slow to cook. Salt hinders this. process.

 

Thanks I think I got it.

It is all about the carbon dioxide.

 

mimi

post #23 of 26

I'm at 5,351 feet above sea level - I'm just north of Denver.

My daughter just bought me a new pressure cooker - I will give it a try.

 

Thanks,

Dee

post #24 of 26

You're not so high that I would think you'd have troubles with normal cooking. Your boiling point is about 201 so maybe just cook longer. Could also be age of the peas. The older dry legumes get the harder they are to

cook. But the pressure cooker will save you time as well as guarantee full cooking even with older legumes. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #25 of 26

Well, I soaked the peas for 16 hours, simmered them in the broth with the usual aromatics for 2 hours, put it all in a crock pot for 6 hours, and finally pressure cooked them for 15 minutes.

They were still not soft, but I spooned them into my VitaMix and it all turned out quite delicious, but way more trouble than I'd like to expend.

I purchased organic split peas that morning, so I know they weren't sitting around in my pantry, not sure how long they were at the grocery store.  They only stock a couple of bags at a time - not a big item out west.  I am from MA, and when I make the soup there, the peas soften and expand and the soup gets thick and creamy - but that doesn't happen here and I cannot figure out why.

My daughter, who lives just a couple of miles from me, claims she has no trouble either.  Next time, I'll make it at her house.

 

Thanks,

Dee

post #26 of 26

Put a piece of kombu in with your peas, it will help to tenderize the peas.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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