Place smoked ham hocks (1 large or 2 smaller ones) in large pot and cover with water. Cook on medium high heat for about fifteen minutes. Add water (approximately 3 to 4 cups) from teakettle and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add peas, and cover. Let peas simmer until they are tender (about one hour), checking occasionally (about every 15 to 20 minutes) to make sure the water level is approximately one-quarter inch above the peas. If water is needed, add it from the teakettle.
Once the peas are tender, add a pinch of sugar, and then season with salt, pepper, and paprika to taste.
How to eat suggestions:
Add sliced smoked sausage, pan-fried okra, chopped fresh tomatoes, and fresh parsley (all to your liking) and serve with cornbread!