Put the beans in a saucepan with plenty of water. Bring slowly to the boil, and boil briskly for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse, put back in the pan, and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour. Meanwhile, trim the meat and cut it into very small cubes. In a non-stick frying pan, fry the meat until well browned. Remove from the pan and put into a flameproof casserole.
Heat the oil and fry the onion until golden brown. Add the garlic, spices and herbs, and fry for 5 minutes, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the frying pan. Pour the contents into the casserole, together with the tomatoes and the beans and their cooking liquor. Bring to the boil, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour until the meat and beans are tender. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. You can use fresh chilli in place of the cayenne pepper, with caution.
© 1995 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.