Pick through beans to remove bad beans; rinse thoroughly.
In a 5-quart pot, combine beans, water, onion, celery and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and cook over low heat for about one and one-half hours or until beans are tender.
Instructions continue on other side.
Stir and mash beans against side of pan. Add green pepper, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt and black pepper. Cook, uncovered, over low heat until creamy, about 30 minutes.
Remove bay leaves. Serve over brown rice, if desired.
Yield: 8 servings.