Add the dried peas to the slow cooker. NO NEED TO PRESOAK.
Add the chicken broth, can of diced tomatoes, bacon, ham, onion, garlic, oregano and pepper. Stir. WAIT TO ADD THE SALT.
Cover and cook on HIGH FOR 7 hours. Do not open the lid during the cooking time.
Add the salt to taste.
For creamier beans remove 1 cup of the beans and mash. Add back to the slow cooker and stir.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR IF YOU PREFER TO SOAK YOUR BEANS:
Start by soaking the black-eyed peas overnight in the slow cooker. Do this by adding the black-eyed peas to the slow cooker and add water to cover plus a few inches more. Let the black-eyed peas soak for at least 8 hours (don't turn on the slow cooker, just let them soak).
Drain off the water in the morning. You will only need 5 cups of chicken broth for this recipe if you soak your beans. Add the chicken broth and remaining ingredients (except salt).
Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 10 hours or HIGH for 6 hours. Mash 1 cup of the beans if you want a creamier texture.
Can I use a ham hock?
Yes, omit the bacon and ham.
Add 1 large or 2 small ham hocks to the pot at the beginning of cooking time.
When the cooking time is up, remove the ham hocks, shred the meat (discard fat).
Degrease the fat from the top of the peas by placing a paper towel over the grease and removing quickly.
Add the shredded ham to the slow cooker. Stir and serve.
Can I make this Vegetarian?
Omit the bacon and ham
Use water instead of chicken broth
Add 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Add 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
Add more salt at the end of cooking time to make up for the saltiness in the ham and bacon.
Can I make this Kosher?
Smoked turkey Kielbasa
Add a 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke for more flavor
Can I make this spicy?
Add Cajun seasoning at the end of the cooking time instead of salt. (Don’t want to add anything too salty or the beans won’t soften)
Add a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper at the beginning of the cooking time.