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.
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William Morrow, 1993.