Friday, January 28, 2011

Week Two--Slow Cooker Thursday

Week two of the great crock pot experiment was Split Pea Soup. Now, Split Pea Soup is probably the easiest soup on the planet to make—just chop onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and throw them in a pot with water and split peas and some herbs—which is what I did. The house smelled great when I got home. But when I lifted the cover to check the soup --- the peas were still hard as a rock. What’s with that???? Everything else looked perfect. So, okay. I let it cook. Another hour, still hard. And another . . . we were starving.

So, we ended up having sandwiches for dinner, except my husband who snagged my last frozen Tempeh Stuffed Pepper!

I let the soup continue to cook. When I went to bed, the peas were still hard. I let the dang soup cook all night long. In the morning, the peas were softer but still not mushy. We’ll eat it for dinner tonight but it definitely isn’t my best soup. It has a slight overcooked taste and the peas are still slightly crunchy

So, what went wrong? This has actually happened to me a couple of times before when I’ve made split pea soup on the stovetop. Usually, I can cook a split pea soup in an hour—1 and 1/2 hours tops. But every once in a while they just don’t soften, in which case I usually puree the soup in the blender.

I did some goggling and it looks like I’m not the only one who has had this problem. The biggest consensus seems to be that the peas are old—but when you buy split peas, how do you know how old they are? I usually buy them in bulk and even if they have a date of when they were put in the bulk bin, who knows how long they sat in storage before the store go them.

I also found one interesting comment here. One commenter said, “Sounds like you've got peas that are known in the industry as ‘HTC.’ Yes, they really have an acronym for hard-to-cook. It's a defect that occurs in all kinds of legumes, and is typically caused by improper storage and/or excessive age.

Split peas are NOT normally soaked but people have tried it to help this problem and it doesn’t seem to make a difference.

Now I absolutely love split pea soup and so does my family, but how can you tell if the split peas are HTC or not? Anyone have a test?


Anonymous said...

Sorry, no advice, but I'm glad I'm not the only one! It's actually happened a couple of times cooking your recipe from Vegetarian Mom's and I was so upset with you for apparently giving me an inaccurate cook time, lol.

Cathe Olson said...

I went to the health food store and found some pinto beans that had just come in. From now on, only fresh beans for me!