Soak the Black eyed peas overnight. Though these peas don't really need soaking, I do it for easy digestion as well as quick cooking.
Take a large pan. Add the peas, 6 cups of water (or vegetable stock if you like), bay leaf, dried thyme and garlic.
Bring it to a boil and then in low heat cook for around 40 minutes, covered with a lid.
While that's cooking, clean the rice and soak it in some cold water.
I do this to help rid of some starch in the rice helping it to retain the shape and stay separate when cooked. Set aside.
Check the peas. You know its done when its soft but yet retains the shape.
You should be able to press it. You don't want it to be a mush You can at this point remove the bay leaves (and garlic if you like).
In another skillet, heat up some oil/butter and saute the onion and celery along with salt and pepper.
Then add the rice and give it a quick stir.
When aromatic and toasty,
add the bell peppers. Stir for another 2 minutes. I do this just to add more flavor to the rice.
Now add the toasted rice to the black eyed peas.
give it stir, until combined.
Close with a lid and let it cook for another 10-15 minutes in low flame
or until the rice cooks through.