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I'm making split pea soup (vegetarian, using the Moosewood Cookbook recipe). I've made this several times before, and I remember that at some point the peas dissolve, making a thick broth. I made sure to soak the peas overnight before cooking them. But the soup has been simmering for over an hour now (very low flame, partially covered, other veggies in the soup for the later 40 minutes) and they don't seem close to dissolving.

Did I do something wrong? How can I fix the soup? And how can I avoid this in the future?

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If it's not boiling rapidly I expect it might take a little stirring - are they soft enough to disintegrate? –  Jefromi May 11 '12 at 14:51
    
@Jefromi: They're soft, but I'm not sure if they're soft enough. I'm stirring occasionally, but not much. I've turned up the flame a tiny bit, too - the other veggies don't seem fully cooked, so maybe the heat's been too low and it all needs more time. –  Ziv May 11 '12 at 14:58
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did you add something acidic? or salt? especially acid will keep them firm. –  rumtscho May 11 '12 at 15:04
    
@rumtscho: Recipe calls for 2 tsp. salt right at the start. –  Ziv May 11 '12 at 15:05
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For a wonderful flavour, Find yourself a vegetarian pig, Smoke the ribs, and add it to the soup. –  Chris Cudmore May 11 '12 at 15:22
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I make split pea soup (with a hambone, which is an unavoidable source of salt - I don't add any extra salt until the very end) pretty regularly. I don't soak the peas. It takes more like 3 or 4 hours for the peas to dissolve. It's not a gradual process either - for ages and ages there are little peas floating in broth, and you can eat one and it's soft, but they don't lose their shape, and then the next time you stop by the stove, it's a uniform puree without having done anything. Just keep simmering, is my advice.

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This is what I did, and it's exactly as you've described. Guess I panicked early... and the recipe was overly optimistic. Thanks! –  Ziv May 11 '12 at 16:08
    
legumes vary tremendously batch to batch season to season in their 'cookability' that is getting tender. Agro scientists put out PHD quality papers trying to explain esp as cookability can change after storage. you just never know... –  Pat Sommer May 13 '12 at 6:57
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