1 qtSmoked Ham and Chicken Stock, de-fatted and ham bits reserved
7 ozs (1 cup) Anson Mills Sea Island Red Peas, covered with water, soaked overnight in the refrigerator, and then drained
½ yellow onion, peeled, cut through root end, and layers left intact
½ carrot, peeled
2 small inner celery ribs, leaves attached
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small Turkish bay leaf
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
Fine sea salt
Bring the stock to a simmer over medium-high heat in heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan. Stir in the soaked and drained peas, the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and curry powder. Return the liquid to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan partially and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender, 1 to 1¼ hours.
Remove and discard the vegetables and bay leaf. Season with the red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Remove ¼ cup or so of peas and broth and puree them in a blender or food processor or with a burr mixer. Return the puree to the pot with the peas. (Alternatively, you can mash the peas directly in the pan with a potato masher or fork.) If the gravy is too thick, thin it with a bit of water. Stir in the reserved ham, if desired. Cook just until heated through. Taste for seasoning and serve hot over Simple Buttered Carolina Gold Rice Grits.