In a large stockpot, combine the beans with the Italian pepper and a bay leaf. Cover with water, passing the beans by 2 inches. Boil covered until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain, reserving 3 cups of the cooking liquid.
In a large casserole, render the fat from the bacon and ham. Add olive oil and saute the onions, pepper, and garlic until translucent. Add tomato paste and caramelize. Add the beans, the cooking liquid, oregano, cumin, and rice. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook at very low heat for about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Recipe courtesy of Alex Garcia