Step 1 Drain the beans and put them in a large saucepan. Add enough water to just cover them. Wrap the garlic, carrot, celery, chile pods, thyme, sage and bay leaves in a doubled piece of cheesecloth and tie it closed with kitchen twine. Add the bundle and the onion to the pot with the beans, stir in the olive oil and salt, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and very gently simmer the beans, stirring from time to time, until they are very tender and creamy, adding more water to the pot if the beans begin to be exposed, about 1 to 2 hours (timing will vary depending on the type and age of the beans). Taste the beans for doneness; they should be creamy in texture without any chalkiness or dryness. Remove from heat, discard the cheesecloth bundle and onion, and set the beans aside to cool in the cooking liquid.