Put the bacon in a heavy kettle and cook, stirring, until rendered of fat and browned. Add the chopped sweet pepper, onion, and celery and cook, stirring, until wilted.
Add the peas, vinegar, stock, salt, pepper, and dried hot peppers. Bring to the boil. Cover closely and let simmer about 1 hour.
Add 6cups water and return to the boil. Let simmer about 1 hour, stirring occasionally from the bottom. Check the peas and, if necessary, add more water. Continue cooking 30 minutes. The total cooking time is 2½ hours or longer.