1/2 pound smoked ham, cut in chunks OR 1/4 pound smoked bacon in 1 inch pieces OR 1 ham bone**
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Sort beans and rinse in colander.
Poor into a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Pour this water off.
Add 3 quarts of fresh water and rest of ingredients, except salt.
Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 3 hours or until tender. Add more water if needed.
When beans are tender, add salt to taste.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
**For vegetarian beans, omit ham or bacon and add 2-4 tablespoons olive oil. For a spicy flavor, add 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 2 minced garlic cloves during last 30 minutes of cooking.