Hoppin John is typically a one-pot dish, but I like cooking the peas separately because it prevents the dish from getting soggy. Traditional Gullah Hoppin John is meant to be fluffy airy. In my version, you still get the flavor without sacrificing the texture.
Heat a medium heavy-bottomed saucepot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the black-eyed peas and cover with cold water by 1 inch (should be about 3 cups water). Add a pinch of salt and the smoked turkey and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, over medium heat until tender, about 2 hours.
Melt the butter in a large saucepot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers. Season with salt and pepper and cook just until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, 1 minute more. Add the rice and stir until toasted, about 5 minutes.
Add 3 cups of water and 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the peas, check for seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, over medium-low heat until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and gently stir in 2 cups of the cooked peas. Cover and cook 10 minutes more. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the scallions before serving.
Use the rest of the peas for another use, or reduce the peas and meat by half when cooking.