After days of complicated cooking, last night I just wanted to coddle myself with soup and salad so I selected some split peas from the legume basket and put them on the stove to cook in liquid that was 1/2 and 1/2 water and chicken broth plus bay leaves, thyme, herbes de Provence, black pepper and garlic. That's it, my favorite almost-vegan version, though I'll also add salt at the finish. I started this around 3:30. Typically the peas will be cooked and tender enough for an immersion blender to puree at around one hour to one hour fifteen, but yesterday I got distracted and didn't tend to them until around one hour forty-five, at which point all the liquid was gone but no scorching had yet taken place, thank god. I added more of everything to thin and re-season, and left the pot on the stove to cook a little longer on the lowest setting possible for, I figured, another half hour. The peas were well-cooked, but the added seasonings needed to meld in. Well, more distractions popped up, and it was 7:00 before I got back to it with the immersion blender, plans to consume imminent, and concerns about overcooking.
Until that moment, I had never left split peas on the stove long enough to wonder if they could be overcooked. Well-cooked occurs early on, in less time than most legumes, so without sugars or dairy products to trigger some other reaction, over-reduction or scorching from same would have been my only concerns. But heck, I didn't really know.
Well, here's the news: I don't think I'll ever cook a pot of split peas under three hours again. Yes, UNDER. That extra almost-two hours resulted in even deeper flavors than what I thought very complete and totally desirable in half the time, and that alone would be worth the extra cooking, but oh my god the texture! It was an ethereal liquid velvet, still soup but thickened in a round puffy way like when you fold whipped cream into something. My split pea soup was always perfectly smooth, but it wasn't THIS.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov