- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 very large onion, finely chopped
- 1 very large carrot, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves—4 minced, 1 whole
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas (about 2 1/4 cups), soaked overnight and drained
- Two 1-pound smoked ham hocks
- 2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 small baguette, sliced diagonally 3/4 inch thick
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving
- In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot and minced garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the drained black-eyed peas, ham hocks, chicken stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low, cover partially and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Season generously with salt and pepper and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Toast the bread slices in the oven for about 8 minutes, until golden. Brush lightly with olive oil and rub lightly with the garlic clove.
- Drain the black-eyed peas; discard the ham hocks and bay leaves. Transfer the peas to a serving bowl. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve the black-eyed peas with the garlic toasts, passing grated cheese at the table.
- Black-eyed peas can be made up to four days in advance.