Monday, January 10, 2011

Darlene's Pressure Cooker Split Pea Soup

Darlene's Pressure Cooker split pea soup
Made about 1 1/2 qts of soup. 6 Corelle-ware cereal bowls full. 
This method is different from most pressure cooking methods. We're not just dumping and pressurizing, so READ THE INSTRUCTIONS all the way through! 

By follow instructions pressure canning/cooking is VERY safe! THINK about what you're doing and pressure canning/cooking is VERY safe! But if you start "winging it" or not paying attention, you WILL have problems!

Plan on being in the same room with the pressure cooker/canner while it's going. Do NOT walk off and "forget it". This is not the time to be doing 3 things at once.You need to be able to hear the regulator rocking. If you get the heat too low or too high, the sound of the regulator rocking will let you know that you need to come attend to the heat level.
Preparing your pressure cooker:

Place the cooking rack (that came with your pressure cooker) and about 2 cups of water in the bottom of a 6 qt pressure cooker. Place medium-size stainless steel or Pyrex glass bowl on top of rack. Make sure there's room in the bowl for everything with about 2-2 1/2 inches from the food to the lip of the bowl to spare. Also, the bowl has to sit no higher than 3/4 of the way up the pot to allow for proper cooking under pressure. Food will boil in the bowl, so it needs some room to not overflow the bowl. Make sure you can get the bowl in and out of the pan easily so that the steam can go around the sides of the bowl - you don't want the steam pushing the bowl (and its contents!) up near the exhaust port! If that happens, food particles WILL block the port and you WILL have an explosion from the build-up of pressure. So that's why you don't want to force the bowl into the pan. (Do I REALLY need to tell anyone to NOT USE PLASTIC in a pressure cooker? Do YOU really want to be the butt of "dumb blonde" jokes? lol)
Reminder: Even with an easy to remove bowl, you will NOT be able to remove the bowl until the bowl cools down some, so plan to use a ladle to remove the soup from the pot. (You can't pour the soup out of the bowl because hot water from the bottom of the pan will ALSO come out with the soup! And the bowl will probably fall out - leaving a mess and you burned!)
The reason for the bowl is to keep the split peas from sticking and burning on the bottom of the pan. This method works for making chili in the pressure cooker too. In fact, anything that has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan is a good candidate for this method. It allows the food(s) to be pressure cooked, but keeps it off the bottom of the pan where it will stick and burn. Next time I make hash, I'm going to use the bowl in the pot. Last time, I almost burned the hash. If I used a glass bowl, I would NOT use a "quick pressure release" method of cooling down the pot. I think it will cause the glass to break. I'm not going to try it myself and see what happens and I would suggest you NOT try it either. 

1 can of ham* (cannery processed in #2 cans) (Can use diced ham, bacon, ham hocks, Kielbasa or summer sausage for this too)
**1 3/4 cups - 2 1/2 cups water (I used broth from ham), chicken or veggie stock, or bouillon cubes/granules to add more flavor
1 cup split peas
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 small carrots, cut into 3/4" pennies
7 very small potatoes, scrubbed. Large dices
1 small bay leaf
3 turns of my little pepper grinder - about 1/4 tsp (I don't normally use pepper either. lol)
large pinch of ground ginger - about 1/4 tsp
salt - optional (I don't normally add salt to my food. And with the ham, I didn't need to add any. YMMV)
Add to individual bowls:
2 tsp butter
1/4 tsp Sriracha Hot sauce (or hot sauce of your choice)
1 tsp red wine vinegar (I'll be fresh lemon juice would be good too!)

*I canned some ham at our local cannery in #2 cans. This is the first can that I've used. I ended up with about 2 1/2 cups of broth and 1 cup meat.
Pick over peas and rinse. Place drained peas in bottom of bowl. (If not using canned ham, skip to "*Add ham") Drain and measure liquid from ham. You should have about 2 1/2 cups liquid from the can. If not, add water, stock, etc. 
*Add ham and liquid to bowl.
Add onion, garlic, bay leaf, pepper and ginger to bowl.
Prepare veggies and add to bowl.
Close pressure cooker and turn heat on high. Bring to pressure following your manufacturer's suggestions. When regulator starts rocking, slowly lower heat to a slow rocking of the regulator. Let pressure cook for 15 mins. When time is up, remove pan from heat, but let the pressure come down on its own. (It took about 30 mins for me to hear the safety valve click as it released.)
REMOVE THE BAY LEAF! Don't ask, it wasn't pretty and 35 years later, I still remember it. DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE BOWL FROM PAN AT THIS TIME! 
**Either take a stick blender to the contents of  the bowl or use 1 3/4 cups of water. I think I'll stay with the stick blender because it thickened it up just right for me, but if you want chunks of meat and veggies, cut back on the water - unless you like a thinner soup. Ladle it into individual serving bowls.
It still "needed something". So I stirred in 2 tsp butter and 1/4 tsp Sriracha sauce (Asian hot sauce) into my soup in my bowl. Still "needed something". Added 2 tsps of red wine vinegar to top of the soup in my bowl and didn't stir in. YEAH!!! Disclaimer: I have an asbestos tongue. When my bottle of Louisana Hot Sauce proclaims; "One drop will do", I laugh at it, open the bottle UP (instead of using the dropper in the cap) and POUR it on my food - especially when I want "Hot Wings". As for the vinegar,  I'm of German/Dutch stock. I like SOUR just fine. In fact, I peel and eat grapefruit like most people peel and eat an orange. Except ya have to remove the membrane around the segments - those suckers are BITTER. (Ok, I'm from FL too. lol)
Alternate treatments:
Forget the meat/meat stock and you have a vegetarian soup. 
I believe this to be gluten free. I know there's no gluten in anything until you get to the Sriracha sauce. There's nothing to indicate anything that would be hiding gluten in it, but since I don't have a problem with gluten, I haven't investigated it.

Use 5 or 6 slices of bacon. Fry in bottom of pressure cooker until browned. Remove from pan and fry onions until golden, add garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add 1 cup of water and deglase the pan. Pour water/onions and garlic into bowl. Place 2 cups of water into bottom of pressure cooker, along with the rack Add bowl and follow rest of directions above.
Make cream of split pea soup by adding white sauce to it after it's cooked. (3 T flour, 3 T butter/bacon grease, 2 cups milk) I would definitely cut back the water in the bowl to 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups or the milk will thin it too much for most of us to enjoy.


LizBeth said...

Thanks for the details. I'll read them carefully. Want to do more than beans or mashed potatoes with my cooker.

Did everything with the blog regards feeds that I know to do. Hope it's showing up. Stay warm; we're supposed to be at 4 degrees F tonight. Think we'll make it. Ugh.

Darlene said...

I'm going to try doing custard in mine. Actually, I want FLAN!

So I'm going to give it a try. I'm going to be posting more pressure cooking ideas.

I bought one at Goodwill last year and it's sat around for the better part of that year. Then, when I moved, I found the one that I had been given as a wedding gift. So I have a 6qt and a 4 qt. cooker.

About a month ago, I got a wild hair and decided to use the pressure cooker. I made stew and it only took me about 20 minutes start to finish! So, yeah, I'm hooked.

I put such detailed, cautious instructions because I know too many people who don't bother to really read/follow instructions. Th cookers are safe to use as long as you have your wits about you.

However, some people who just happen upon the blog may not be so wired. Hence the details/worry over it.

Seems lately that people no longer think things through. We have so much "User Friendly" inventions that you can be really foolish and still get things to work. However, pressure cookers are older technology. From back in the days when people bothered to think about stuff and paid attention to what they are doing. (Just LOVE to see people driving and TEXTING! Or READING THE PAPER! <dripping with sarcasm here!)

You'll do just fine with it because your a thinker.

I'll check on the blog from my end and see what I can see and let you know.

It's supposed to be cold here tonight and we have about 6" of snow here right now.

LizBeth said...

Mom says thanks so much. She's popping apart. Hopes to be back soon. - ComputerSon

Julie Harward said...

It sounds wonderful and perfect with all that snow you are getting! What is going on with this weather anyway?! It's so odd all over the country! Enjoy that soup! ;D