Rinse and sort beans according to package directions. Place beans in a 6-qt. slow cooker. Add water 2 inches above beans; let soak 8 hours. Drain and rinse. Return beans to slow cooker.
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon; add to slow cooker.
Sauté onion, celery, and garlic in hot drippings 7 to 8 minutes or until tender. Reduce heat to medium, and stir in ham, cumin, and ground peppers. Sauté 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in 1/2 cup chicken broth, and cook 2 minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet; add mixture to slow cooker. Stir in remaining chicken broth and 1 cup water.
Cover and cook on HIGH 5 hours or LOW 8 hours or until beans are tender.
I gave this 5 stars and I totally disagree with the comment that the work involved detracts from the recipe. I have made this several times since last June when it was published in SL. It is a recipe that keeps on giving. The flavors are great when it is first done. I serve it over brown rice for a very satisfying supper. Then I make the soup and the chimichangas which are just as good or better. I will keep using this recipe and I'm passing it on to friends.
These beans tasted good the day I made them, but they were even better the next day after the flavors had a chance to mingle. This recipe makes plenty of beans to freeze, and after thawing and heating that is when they taste the absolute best! For more flavor and texture top them with your favorite salsa.
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