Heat the oil in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes, or until golden and soft. Add the ham and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the garlic, salt, cayenne, black pepper, and thyme. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the shrimp and bay leaves and cook until the shrimp turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to mix. Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
Remove from the heat and let stand, for about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
Stir the green onions and serve.
Yield: 6 servings