California Split Pea

About this recipe

This is a variation of Lentil Soup that needs its own page. First off it uses split peas (so that’s different), and you add diced capicollo ham (which is unique), plus cabbage, asparagus, and rice. Then you put chicken stock. Oh, it’s just different.


In a nice big soup pot, boil in salted water:

  • 2 cups (1 lb.) dried split peas until cooked (30-40 minutes), skimming off froth from time to time.

Then drain, rinse, and put back into the same pot covered by:

  • 4 cups chicken stock (use a tetra pack),
  • 4 cups water (swish out the tetra pack).

Turn heat to high and add:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil,
  • 1 cooking onion (diced),
  • 2 cups diced carrots,
  • 2 cups diced celery (with leaves on),
  • 2 cups diced Savoy cabbage,
  • 2 cups diced asparagus or green beans,
  • 2 cups Italian capicollo or regular ham (diced),
  • 4-5 canned plum tomatoes (cut up),
  • 4-5 bay leaves,
  • 1 tbsp. salt, and 1 tsp. black pepper.

Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add:

  • ¾ cup dry rice (use arborio if you can).

Continue to simmer another 15-20 minutes. The broth is ready when the rice is cooked. Add water if necessary (remember, we’re making soup).

Serve with Parmesan cheese and additional salt and pepper to taste.


  • Don’t forget the Parmesan.
  • You can add the rice at the end and let cook while the soup is cooling.
  • Do whatever the package says for preparing the split peas, and taste for tenderness.
    You can leave out the rice and you can make it without ham (but you definitely need the water).

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