Put onion peels and ham hocks/shanks in a stock pot and cover with water. Put lid on pot. Bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat. Cook at a low boil (just above simmer) for at least one hour.
Remove ham hocks from stock and save. Discard onion peel. Cool stock and skim off all fat. Put in the freezer to speed the process.
In a large soup pot add 2 quarts of prepared stock, ham hocks/stock and all remaining ingredients. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Stir about every ½ hour. Cook until black-eyed peas are tender, about 2 ½ to 3 hours. Add water as needed.
Remove ham hocks/shanks and remove meat from the bone, Return meat to the pot and serve.