This month, we grabbed our Greek sandals, headed to the farmer's market and picked up fresh tomatoes, carrots, onions and more to make our Greek recipe for September's Kalo Mina - the very traditional and very delicious Gigantes Plaki, or baked Giant beans.
Gigantes’ literal translation is giant and “plaki” is a sauce made out of garlic, onion, carrot and tomatoes. Served traditionally as a meze dish, Gigantes also make for a great relatively light lunch with a side of feta and a thick cut of bread.
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 2 hours
500 grams large butter beans
2 red onions
4 cloves of garlic
½ cup olive oil
1 stalk of celery
½ bunch of parsley
700 grams tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
Soak the beans in water for 24 hours. They should double in size.
- Cut the onions into chunky pieces
- Thinly slice the garlic
- Dice the stalk of celery
- Cut 1-2 carrots into medium thickness slices
- Finely chop the tomatoes (or blend in a mixer)
- Finely chop the parsley
- Rinse the previously soaked beans
- Gently boil the beans for 45-60 minutes or until soft.
- Remove any foaming with a spoon
- Add a quarter cup of olive oil to a frying pan on medium heat
- Add the onions to the pan, and sauté for 7-8 minutes
- Add the garlic, celery and carrot, and sauté for another 2-3 minutes
- Add the sugar, tomatoes and parsley to the pan
- Add a tablespoon of tomato paste.
- Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Place the boiled beans in a roasting pan
- Add the tomato sauce mix on top, and gently mix
- Add the rest of the quarter cup of olive oil to the pan
- Add half a cup of water
- Cover in aluminium foil and bake for 45 minutes at 200DegC (390 Fahrenheit)
- Remove the aluminium foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
Serve with Feta cheese, olive oil and oregano and some fresh rustic bread. You can serve either warm or at room temperature.