Sandy says if you're using dried beans, first wash to remove any bits of dirt etc. Place in a pan and cover with cold water (don’t add the salt it can make the skins of the beans tough) Bing to the boil, drain the beans and add a fresh covering of water. Bring to the boil and boil till the beans are soft (squash with a little pressure between thumb and finger) this could take upto an hour.
Pre heat the oven 140c gas 3
In a pot that goes on the stove and into the oven (this saves on washing up) fry the chopped onion and chopped or crushed garlic in the oil, until the onions are soft. Tip in the beans and stir till all is well combined, do this carefully otherwise the beans start to break up too much.
Next add the tinned tomatoes and the puree, stir well and now add the salt and pepper, use your taste to get it right,( salt and pepper is such a personal thing) If the beans seems to dry add a little water. Put the lid on the pot and put the beans in the oven, leave then now to bake in all those garlicky flavours and soak up the tomato juices. Let then bake for 2 hours, keep checking that the beans do not become too dry add a little more water or chicken stock if you wish too.
If you want to take the beans onto the Boston style? In the last half hour of baking gently stir in the treacle or molasses, add a table spoon at a time and taste, then add a bit more this is now up to you.
The beans will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days and will improve as they age (not unlike women!) they can be heated up on the stove top and are absolutely wonderful with a sprinkling of parmesan served on a thick slice of toasted granary bread.
1lb 450g dried Haricot beans or the equitant in tinned
3 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tube tomato puree
1 large onion chopped
5 cloves of garlic (less or more depending on personal taste)
Fresh ground black pepper
2 table spoons of oil
2table spoons back treacle or black molasses (for the Boston variety)