Soak beans overnight. Rinse, put beans in stew pot or Dutch oven. Cover with water plus several inches. Substitute part of water with broth if desired. Add shank and bay leaves. Season with pepper but wait on the salt as the ham will salt the broth throughout. Cook for an hour at a simmer. Add water if needed...enough to keep meat covered. Add onion, pepper, Rotel. I use Rotel Original because we like the spice, but when my grandkids are around, I use the mild. Cook additional 2 hours, partly covered or until beans are tender. As beans soften use ladle or potato masher to mash a few times to thicken broth. Taste for needed salt or additional pepper. Great served with cornbread or a crusty loaf of sweet French or Italian.