MAKES 6 SERVINGS
Adapted from The Lodato Family Cookbook by Frank Lodato Jr. and Julie O'Day Lodato
Slice 4 strips of bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and fry in a Dutch oven. Remove bacon but leave grease in pot. Saute onions, celery, garlic, and peppers in bacon grease until soft. Add beans and tomato and stir. Add 2 cups water and ham hocks, cover and simmer until beans soften. When halfway cooked, add sugar and sausage, if desired and cook 30 minutes more. Make gravy by smashing some cooked beans with a slotted spoon. This will thicken the mixture. Continue adding water until desired consistency is reached.