Red Beans

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½ pound dry red kidney beans
water to cover the beans
About 10 cups water
3 pounds small ham hocks
1 ¼ cups finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
3 bay leaves
1 ½ teaspoon tobasco sauce
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
¾ teaspoon garlic powder
¾ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
½ teaspoon ground cayenne
½ teaspoon black pepper

Cover the beans with water 2 inches above the beans; soak overnight. Drain.

Place 8 cups of the water and remaining ingredients in a 5 ½ quart saucepan or large dutch oven; stir well. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Raise heat and boil until meat falls off the bones, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the meat and bones from the pan; set meat aside and discard bones.

Add the drained beans and remaining 2 cups water to the pot. (You may not need to add this extra water; it depends on how much evaporation has taken place.) Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until beans are ender and start to breaking up, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom fairly often. Add the ham and cook and stir 10 minutes longer. Discard bay leaves and break up any large meat chunks.


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