In a large pot, add the beans, 4 cups of chicken broth and enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil.
In a skillet, heat oil and add onion, celery, bell pepper, and Canadian bacon. Sauté until the vegetables are soft. Add garlic, bay leaves, and thyme and sauté for an additional two minutes.
Add the contents of the skillet to the pot of beans, and simmer until the beans are tender (approximately two hours). Stir occasionally while cooking, and add water or chicken broth as needed during cooking.
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve over rice, though we never need to add salt. The kids enjoy it as is, and the adults pass the cayenne pepper, seasoned salt, and hot sauce to bring the heat up to the desired level.