2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, or a seasoning salt blend
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Rinse the black-eyed peas and pick them over, removing any damaged peas or small stones. Put them in a large Dutch oven and cover with water to a depth of about 3 inches above the peas. Cover the pan. Let soak overnight (or you can do the quick soak method, usually found on the back of the package)
Dice up salt pork (thick sliced bacon can also be used). Saute the pork with the onion until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Meanwhile, dice the ham, celery, and the red and green bell peppers, if using.
Transfer the sautéed pork, onions, and garlic to the pot with the drained peas. Add the diced ham, celery, the bell pepper, and the Cajun seasoning blend. Add water or unsalted chicken stock to just cover the peas (about 4 to 6 cups).
Simmer the peas uncovered for about 1 hour or longer, until the peas and vegetables are tender. Check the peas occasionally and add a little more water if necessary. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and hot pepper, as desired.
Serve over cooked rice.
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