Thanks very much to all those who responded to my query about good rice and beans-type dishes. I look very much forward to trying some of the delicious-sounding approaches that were suggested. But when I made the meal that my post was intended to relate to, I actually just played it more or less by ear. And it turned out pretty darn good.
Large can of chicken broth (no salt, no fat College Inn--I know this is anathema to many, but I just didn't have time to make my own)
2 green peppers chopped
3 chipotles and 1 ancho chili, soaked in hot water, seeded, and minced
A couple onions, chopped
1 lb soaked cranberry beans
2 smoked ham hocks.
Basically I cooked the beans in the broth with the ham hocks until it the beans were getting tender, and threw everything else in. I put in some of the chili soaking water (which I know may not be kosher, since the chilis may not be entirely clean to begin with--though maybe the boiling water makes it OK?) when things got sort of dry. No salt (beyond what was involved in the ham, I guess), no pepper, no spices. It turned out really good.