Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. SautÈ the onions and celery with the salt, black pepper, and bay leaves for about 5 minutes. Add the ham and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the beans and cover with water. Add the Tabasco. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for about 3 hours, or until the beans are soft and creamy. Stir occasionally.
Remove the bay leaves and serve over steamed white rice.
Yield: 8 servings