Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Gigantes, Greek Baked Beans

If you've got vegans coming 'round for dinner, this is going to be way more substantial and comforting for everyone involved than just throwing together some Pasta Margherita.

To prep the beans for cooking: 
Hopefully you can find these beans dried, gigantes are basically like large dried butter beans or large lima beans, or you can use dried fava beans. Pour your bag of dry beans into a large bowl of water and let them soak overnight, at least 12 hours or more. Simmer them in a large pot of water (not salted) for about 45 minutes. You can taste one after 30 minutes to see if they're done, you want them to be soft enough to bite into easily, but not super mushy like canned beans. When you're done you should have about 2 pounds of soaked, simmered beans. (You can weigh out and use canned or frozen beans if you must, but I wouldn't.)

After you drain the beans, put them in a lasagne sized pan, and then in the pot you used to cook the beans, put in:

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil. (Yes, all that oil.)
1 large onion, roughly chopped

 Saute on medium heat for five minutes, then add:

1/2 small can (about 3 oz.) tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
(add a pinch of thyme or rosemary if you want to be different)

Saute for another five minutes.

Pour in 2 1/3 cups of warm water or vegetable stock, then pour this pot of sauce over the beans that are waiting in the pan. Mix it all around a bit. 

Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour, uncovered.The top bits and the edges should look a little brown and crunchy when they're done.

STOVE TOP: If you don't want to heat up the whole house with the oven, after you saute the onions, just add the tomato and spice, then use equal parts of water to beans, and simmer on the stove for one hour uncovered (this is in addition to the 45 minutes you already cooked them,) up to two hours depending on how soft you want your beans. 

You can eat these hot, with big hunks of baguette, but I like to let them cool off a bit, then put them in the fridge and serve them the next day, they are more buttery and delicious served room temperature.

Here they are cooked on the stove top. No crunchy bits but still yummy!
stove top gigantes