About this recipe: These oven-baked beans are cooked slowly to create a richly flavoured vegetable dish – a revelation if you've only ever eaten the tinned variety. Serve alongside grilled pork chops, together with potatoes or bread.
Use dry white wine or a well-flavoured vegetable stock instead of cider. * Instead of haricot beans, try other dried beans, such as black-eyed or cannellini beans. • For a spicier result, replace the herbs with chilli powder, using mild or hot. * Make Boston baked lentils. Cook 225 g (8 oz) green or brown lentils in boiling water for about 20 minutes or until tender, then drain well. Make the tomato sauce as in the main recipe, but replacing the shallots with 1 large onion and adding a 2.5 cm (1 in) piece of fresh root ginger, finely chopped, with the garlic. Instead of cider, use 200 ml (7 fl oz) red wine, and omit the mustard. Mix the cooked lentils with the tomato sauce in an ovenproof dish, cover and bake in a preheated 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) oven for 1–1¼ hours.
Shallots tend to have a milder, more subtle flavour than onions, but like onions they contain some vitamin C and B vitamins. * Unrefined sugars such as muscovado retain a proportion of molasses – the brown residue that contains the nutrients of the sugar cane. In general, the darker the sugar, the more molasses it contains, and the more nutrients. * Treacle is a sticky fluid refined from molasses. Though it is primarily carbohydrate in the form of sugar, black treacle can provide useful amounts of potassium, calcium and iron.
copper * B1, B6, C, E, niacin, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc