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Split Pea soup - help please!

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Ok, so I decided to try split pea soup. I followed the recipe

it did not mention soaking the dried peas first so I didn't, just figured it wasn't necessary in this recipe since no mention. Now I'm beginning to wonder as it doesn't seem like they are getting soft. Is there any way to help them cook/soften or do I have to toss the nice batch? They are simmering (have been for 40 minutes). Any advise?

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  1. I never soak my split peas. You still have another 40 minutes to simmer, right? I think you'll be fine.
    The recipe I use simmers the soup for a total of two hours, so I would imagine you can simmer your soup longer if need be.

    1. I have made this recipe as is says, no soaking and it turned out great. (Though I did double the ham I think...) Don't worry!


      1. dried peas and beans can vary in cooking time, it's not always cut and dry. they'll cook down eventually.

        1. There is no reason to soak split peas. They WILL disintegrate during the cooking process. Split Pea Soup is a staple in our house in cold weather. I make it "by heart," and have never soaked the peas. Don't soak the small white beans that also go into my recipe.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ChefJune

            So that's what I've been doing wrong! Next time I'll soak them all night. I hate it when the peas won't disintegrate--I like pea soup where you cannot indentify a single pea. Thick, green, and lumpy. YUMMY!!!!

            1. re: John_M

              I tried soaking the peas, and the soup turned out perfectly. This saved me time, energy, and money. So it seems cooking peas is about the same as cooking beans. If you want to save cooking time, soak beforehand.

          2. A word or two about soaking or par-boiling: I've gotten into the routine of par-boiling the split peas for five minutes and then let them stand in the pot covered for an hour. I then get rid of this first water and proceed to prepare the soup. I find that this method seems to make the split pea soup less flatulent.

            Now a word or two about the split peas getting soft. I've found that when I make a vegetarian split pea soup that the split peas don't seem to become smooth, even after 1-1/2 hours of cooking. I find that I need to puree the soup in a food processor to achieve the smoothness. I've subsequently found that when I make the soup with ham hocks, the split peas do achieve a smoothness after a reasonable amount of cooking time. I'm wondering if the fat in the ham hocks somehow allows the split peas to attain the required smoothness.

            1. Thanks everyone- glad to hear. I checked the recipe on the bag of peas & it doesn't mention soaking for the soup, but did give a soaking method, that's why I got nervous. Well, it doesn't need to be eaten now (glad I did it early), so I'll just let it keep simmering away & hope they eventually soften.

              1. update...looking/tasting good now, just definitely took a lot longer than the 80 minutes in the recipe for me. thanks Katerina for the recipe link!

                1. I make mine in a crock pot. On high for 4 hours (6 cups of broth & a bay leaf for a small bag of splits), then add some sauteed stuff and turn to low for 4 more hours. Then finish it with wine, seasoning, etc. Cooking it on low didn't get the peas cooked. Had to kick it up for the first half.

                  1. if your dried beans/peas/lentils etc. are old (sitting in your own pantry, or on grocery shelf, or in warehouse), it takes longer to cook them as well. you just need to wait it out sometimes when you don't know how old they are, but age usually doesn't affect the taste

                    1. The recipe I use is from the Pritiken's Diet for Runners. I use the Goya ham seasoning packet for the flavor. This is a frequent flier at my house.

                      Split Pea Soup

                      8 cups chicken stock low salt
                      1 1/3 cups split peas
                      1 1/2 cups carrots
                      1 cup potatoes
                      1 cup onions
                      1/2 cup green pepper
                      1/2 cup celery
                      2 cloves garlic -- crushed
                      1 bay leaf
                      1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

                      Place all ingredients in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

                      Transfer all the soup, except about 2 cups, to a blender. Blend until smooth, and return to the soup pot to be mixed with the unblended soup. All may be blended if desired

                      Serving Ideas : Slivers of Canadian bacon are a nice addition to make an entree soup. A packet of Goya ham seasoning adds flavor. Yellow or orange peppers are good in this, too.

                      1. I made yellow split pea soup this week and they took longer than usual to break down, but they got there eventually. I'd consider soaking for the eh...breaking wind condition that ensues after eating, but it's not a necessary step.
                        Just fyi, I added thyme, marjoram, Pecorino, bay leaf and paprika and that is a tasty combo.
                        Also, I allowed the soup to simmer with a hamsteak in it (roughly cut). When the soup is done cooking, i shred it with fork, as suggested by Cook's Illustrated. It's a nice way to disperse the ham throughout.

                        1. I just went to a class/guest speaker and it was some of the guys who wrote "Modernist Cuisine". They say to always cook beans/legumes to whatever desired doneness WITHOUT SALT. So regardless of pressure cooker, slow cooker, stovetop, pre soak or not - the salt delayed and inhibits the reconstitution of the beans. So in this case if you are using broth that's salted you'd be asking for longer prep times and beans that's aren't properly cooked. Anyway, that said, you could pre-soak the peas or use salt free broth...and add salt later.I'm going to try this today and will report back.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: reeveb

                            Salt is definitely a factor. Don't forget that your ham has mega amounts. In addition, peas/beans take substantially longer at high altitude. My guess is the altitude may be contributing.

                          2. I never soak my split peas or dry beans. Some take longer to cook than others even though they are of the same brand. Oftentimes the cooking times specified in recipes are "off", usually on the shy side of doneness in my experience.