Add enough water to the beans to cover them by 3 or 4 inches and soak overnight in the refrigerator.
Place 8 cups of water, the ham hocks, celery, onions, bell peppers, and bay leaves in a 5½‑quart saucepan or Dutch oven. Stir well, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Raise the heat and boil, stirring occasionally, until the meat falls off the bones, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Drain the beans and add them and the remaining 2 cups of water to the pot, along with the Magic Pepper Sauce and the Magic Seasoning Blend. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pot fairly often, until the beans are tender and start breaking up, about 1 hour. Discard the bay leaves and break up any large pieces of meat. Serve over cooked long-grain white rice, with Magic Pepper Sauce on the side for those who like a little more heat.
Lamb or veal pieces could be added to the beans as they cook.
Copyright © 1995 by Paul Prudhomme