Black-eyed peas are a great pantry item. Their distinctive taste is wonderful in curries, soups and stews. Making black-eyed peas from scratch allows you to use the delicious broth that they make. Adding... a whole unbroken chipotle chili to the pea broth adds smoky, deep flavor to them that is reminiscent of the more traditional — but less healthy — ham hock or ham bone. And because it’s whole, the chili won’t add spiciness to the broth, just flavor. It’s the pith and seeds inside the chili that contain the heat, so as long as they don’t come into direct contact with the broth, they can’t over-spice it.
Soak the peas overnight. Drain, and rinse the black-eyed peas. (See Chef Tips.)
In a pot add the black-eyed peas, bay leaves, shallot, chipotle chili, and olive oil. Add just enough water to cover the peas. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer gently until tender but not mushy, about 25-30 minutes.
Add a pinch of salt and remove the shallot, chipotle, and bay leaves. Drain and reserve cooking water for stock.
If you choose to cook the peas without soaking, rinse them, put them in a pan with enough water to cover them by 1-inch. Add the aromatics and oil as above. Cover and cook for 45 minutes or until they are soft but not mushy. Add a little boiling water if the peas seem dry as they cook. Salt them when they are just cooked.