In a heavy Dutch oven
heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the ham
and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 4 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and bay leaves
and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the beans, chicken stock
and water and bring to a boil. Partially cover the pot, reduce heat to a simmer
and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender and creamy, about 2 hours.
When the beans are tender and cooked to the desired degree of doneness, season with 1 1/4 teaspoons of the Essence, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the black and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. In a small bowl toss the shrimp with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons Essence and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and stir until the shrimp are evenly coated with the seasoning. Add the shrimp
, parsley and green onions
to the beans and stir to combine. Remove beans from the heat, cover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Stir well and serve beans immediately, in shallow, wide bowls, spooned over cooked white rice
. Pass the hot sauce
for guests to season their beans to their liking.