Soak beans overnight (or boil rapidly two minutes only; cover, allow to stand one hour).
[We always soak overnight.]
In heavy pot, bring beans, water and salt to boil; simmer, covered, one hour.
Add all other ingredients and simmer another hour, or longer if desired.
[Russ usually cooks at least three hours.]
I'll admit it, I never really cared for beans growing up. My dad cooked them ALL THE TIME and I always ate as little as I could get away with without incurring his wrath...until Russ made these beans. The secret ingredient is the mini sweet peppers - they impart a flavor much more complex than bell peppers. I will eat an entire meal of JUST these beans - I call it my BEANFEAST, because sometimes I want a beanfeast like Veruca Salt.
Russ brings these beans EVERYWHERE - to holiday gatherings, his dad's fish fries, the Marching Band potluck, and most recently, our Traveling UTD Potluck, which was last night. Although you cannot make these beans in a Crockpot, a Crockpot is the best way to make these beans mobile.