Rinse beans then soak in a large bowl with water overnight. When ready to cook, drain the soaked beans, give them a rinse and set aside.
Heat oil in a large heavy based pot over medium-high heat. Fry sausage until slightly browned while stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic, sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until soft and fragrant.
Season with tomato paste, Italian herbs, paprika, cajun seasoning, cumin, paprika, cayenne and thyme sprigs. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for a further minute.
Add the ham hock, water and pre-soaked beans. Season with a pinch of salt to taste (only add about 1/8 teaspoon to start with) and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover pot. Let simmer while stirring occasionally so that the beans don't stick to the bottom of the pot, for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until beans are tender
Carefully remove ham hock and shred meat off the bone. Stir the meat back into the pot and discard bone.
Add parsley and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Taste test and adjust seasonings accordingly. Discard bay leaves and thyme. Serve beans over rice with green onions and hot sauce (or Tabasco sauce).