In a large, heavy saucepan renderthe bacon until crisp and golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined baking sheet or plate and set aside.
Add the onion, carrot and celery to the bacon drippings and cook, over medium heat until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the peas, stock, salt, pepper and bay leaf and cook over medium heat, partially covered until the peas are tender but not falling apart,about 1 hour. Add more stock or water if necessary.
The pot liquor from the black-eyed peas is delicious served over slices of hearty country bread or rice.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings