To prepare the traditional Greek recipe, try to find original gigantes beans at Greek or ethnic markets; if you can’t find them, substitute with large lima beans or elephant beans or butter beans.
Greek Gigantes Plaki (Baked Giant Beans)
- 250 g dry giant beans, soaked overnight
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 400 g canned chopped tomato
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- one pinch or to taste chilli powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- to taste black pepper
- 1 tsp dried parsley
1. Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight before you prepare the dish.
2. Before cooking, remove them from soaking water and rinse well.
3. Transfer them to a large pot and start to cook them over medium heat in a lot of water. Once boiling take back the heat and let it simmer, cover with a lid for about 45 minutes. The beans need to be cooked ‘al dente’ as they will finish off cooking in the oven.
4. Meanwhile in a pan heat up 1 tbsp olive oil and sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Take back the heat to minimum and add chili and cinnamon. Constantly stir for about 1 minutes to prevent from burning.
5. Add in tomato paste, diced tomatoes, oregano, salt, sugar and pepper. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes—until tomatoes start to thicken. Add in drained beans and mix everything together.
6. Transfer the mixture to an oven safe dish and stir well.
7. Bake in a pre-heated for about 1 hr on 180 C degree, until the sauce has thickened nicely and the beans are soft and creamy.
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Photo: Imola Toth