Creole Red Beans and Rice (Louisiana French)

This is a favorite New Orleans lunch.

1 pound dried red kidney beans
1 1/2 pounds ham hock or ham bone with
    generous amount of meat
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 jalape?o pepper, chopped

Place beans and ham hock in a large pot. Cover with water. Water should be 1/2 to 3/4 inch above beans. Heat. When beans and water are hot, add bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic, seasonings and jalape?o pepper. Cook slowly for 2 to 3 hours or until gravy is thick and beans are tender. Salt to taste.

Serve over fluffy white rice.

Serves 4.

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