- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 pound boiled ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 6 ounces smoked sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (1 cup)
- 1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted over, soaked overnight and drained
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 8 to 10 cups water
- 2 recipes Steamed Rice 
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. SautÈ the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, cayenne, black pepper, and thyme for about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves, ham, and sausage and sautÈ for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the beans, garlic, and enough water to cover the contents in the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours. Add more water if the mixture becomes dry and thick.
- Use a wooden spoon to mash about half of the mixture against the side of the pot. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the mixture is creamy and the beans are soft. Add more water if it becomes too thick. The mixture should be soupy, but not watery.
- Remove the bay leaves and serve over steamed rice.