Place beans in a bowl and soak them in water overnight. Add water to over by 2 inches, as beans will expand about twice in size. Next day, drain beans.
In a very large flameproof casserole or stock pot, cook bacon over low heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add garlic, onions, leek and carrot; cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ham hock, sausages, bay leaves, paprika and beans; add water to barely cover. Bring to a boil, skim off the foam and fat from the top, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, on very low heat for about 2 1/2 hours, or until beans are tender and juicy. Add red bell pepper 5 minutes before the end of cooking. Remove ham hock and defat surface of stew. Take off meat from ham hock and return it to the pan. Discard bay leaves. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm, preferably from a clay casserole.
Recommended Wine: Sidra (Austrian hard, sparkling apple cider)
Recipe courtesy of David Rosengarten