Wash beans. In a large Dutch oven or cast iron pot, cover in cold water and soak overnight. When ready to cook, add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaf and ham-bone. Add enough additional water to cover the beans at least 3 inches above their marker. Cook slowly stirring occasionally until beans are tender. Time will vary from 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
In the last 30 minutes of cooking mash some of the beans to thicken the gravy. Add the smoked sausage and season to taste with salt and pepper. The heat may be increased to evaporate excess water if the beans have a too watery gravy or water added to make more gravy. Do stir to prevent sticking. Serve over steamed rice.
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