Parent Category: Living in Crete
Cretan cuisine (Κρητική κουζίνα) - Giant beans in the oven (Φασόλια γίγαντες στο φούρνο)
Gigantes plaki (yigandes plaki, γίγαντες πλακί) is a popular Greek taverna dish, consisting of oven-baked fasolia gigante ("giant") beans with tomato sauce. Gigantes are occasionally also called elephant beans (elephantes) - which is the name reserved for extra large giant beans.
- 400 g dried giant or butter beans
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (Greek, of course)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp concentrated tomato paste/pureé
- 2x400 g cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- couple of pinches of ground cinnamon
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- To garnish:
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf/Italian parsley
- Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water. Drain, rinse, drain again. Place in a large pan covered with fresh water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, then simmer gently for 50-60 minutes, until the beans are tender but not too soft. Drain.
- Heat the oven to 180C/350F.
- Make the sauce: heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over moderately low heat. Add the onion and fry for about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for another 2-3 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
- Add the tomato puree, sauté for a minute. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the beans) and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season generously with honey, oregano, salt and pepper, then tip in the drained cooked beans.
- Transfer the mixture into a large ovenproof dish - I love using my lasagne pan - and bake for approximately one hour. Don't cover and don't stir! The dish is ready when the tomato sauce has thickened and the beans are soft and flavoursome.
- Remove from the oven, cool a little. Scatter the parsley on top and drizzle with some extra olive oil.
Enjoy your meal (Καλή όρεξη)