If you wish, 8 ounces of diced chicken breast or smoked sausage (or both) in the last hour of cooking. Serves 12, at least.
15 oz dried beans, a mix of red kidney, Great Northern, navy, Anasazi, or whatever's in your bean jar
3 quarts water
1/4 cup smoky barbecue sauce
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp oregano
1/2 Tbsp thyme
28-oz can whole pear tomatoes, drained, seeded and roughly chopped
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Wash and pick over beans, and soak in water to cover for at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain. Place in a large stockpot, and add 3 quarts of water, barbeque sauce, bay leaf, oregano and thyme. Simmer, covered, for 2-1/2 hours.
Add tomato, onion, celery, garlic, Tabasco and pepper, and simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours, or until the beans begin to fall apart.
Serve hot, or allow to cool completely, and freeze in airtight containers.