Bring hocks and 2 qt. water to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat; simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender.
Meanwhile, sauté onion in hot drippings in a medium skillet over medium-high heat 6 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add peas and onion mixture to Dutch oven with ham hocks; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes or until peas are tender. Remove hocks; drain peas, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Remove and chop ham from hock bones; discard bones. Stir ham into peas, if desired.
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