I started making this about 25 years ago after visiting Miami's Little Havana and hitting up all the Cuban resteraunts. I generally only make it once a year or so, around this time of year. For the holidays we always seem to get a whole ham for the family gathering. I make sure I grab the ham bone on the way out the door (or hide it if it's at our house.)
Take the bone and anything that is attached ( I try to make sure there is a good pound or so of edible meat still on the bone, not counting the other schmutz at the joints) and throw it in a heavy covered pot. I fill 'er up till the bone is completely submerged and then put it on low heat for 6-8 hours with a few peppercorns and an onion and not much else in the pot. After that time, the meat will have fallen off the bone and the cartelege and any other semisolids will be disolved into the stock. Toss the bone and cool overnight. Overnight, soak a bag of black beans in a bowl with plenty of water to cover. In the morning pour the beans and remaining water into another heavy covered pot, add most of the stock and the meat from the bone. The meat will have mostly fallen apart into small, stringy pieces, I generally add another pound or so of chopped ham, one or two chopped onions, some black pepper and as much crushed red pepper flakes as your family will let you get away with. Then add another tablespoon to that. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and come back in 90 minutes.
Serve hot over a bowl of rice and love life. I'm eating a bowl now with some hot sauce on top. It's making me think that last night at work wasn't that bad after all.
Oh yea, as an incidental, take out 4-6 cups of the stock and add 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and add a bag of dried split peas. Boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat, add a finely chopped onion and simmer for another 30 minutes. It doesn't hurt to add a cup or two of shredded/chopped ham along with the onion. The pea soup, while exceedingly good ,is to me just an incidental. Any other time of the year it would be a star, but with that Black Beans and Rice on the stove next to it, it sort of fades.