First, cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces. In a large skillet, cook the bacon on medium high until crisp. Transfer bacon to dish, but do not drain.
Reduce the heat to medium. Then, in the bacon drippings, cook the celery and onions, stirring. Cook for 5 minutes until they start to soften.
Next, stir in the jalapeno and garlic, cooking and stirring for another 5 minutes.
Add the black eye peas, seasoning blend, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir in the broth.
Bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and reduce to a simmer.
Simmer for about 1 hour until the peas are tender.
For the Rice
While the Hoppin John is simmering, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×12 baking pan with non stick spray. In the pan, stir together 2 cups of chicken broth, a tablespoon of butter, a pinch of black pepper, and 1 cup of rice.
Cover with foil, and bake for 35 minutes. Remove, let stand for 5 minutes, and fluff with a fork before serving.
To serve, add a serving of rice to a dish. Spoon a helping of Hoppin John over the rice.
If preparing using dried black eye peas, add about 1 cup more water or broth to the recipe.