In a large pot, combine the beans, water, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Allow the beans to boil for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium, and cook the beans for 1-2 hours or until tender. Meanwhile, in a non-stick skillet, saute the onion in the olive oil for 5 minutes or until soft and slightly browned. Add the garlic and saute an additional minute. Remove from the heat and set aside. When the beans are tender, drain them, saving their cooking liquid for making soup, and discard the bay leaf. Transfer the beans to a 2 1/2 Quart casserole dish or Dutch oven. Add the reserved onion mixture, the remaining ingredients, and stir well to combine. Cover the casserole dish with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour, remove the lid or aluminum foil, and bake an additional 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold.
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