Gigantes Plaki (Greek-Style Giant Beans)

/

Gigantes Plaki

It’s been hot in Los Angeles, but I’ll never be one of those people who just won’t cook in July and August. I can’t subsist on ice cream and limp lettuce. So when it’s very (very) hot I try to keep a cool head and devise low-effort meals. The trick is to choose make-ahead dishes that are worth the effort. Well for me just about anything slathered on toast is worth the effort. You can make a whole meal from build-it-yourself crostini. It’s kind of like the “cheese and crackers” model that you loved as a kid. While cheese is nice, these days I’m also more likely to broaden the choices of what might appear on the platter. It’s a common practice known as meze in Mediterranean cultures, pintxos among the Basque, and I swear the Hawaiians call it a pu pu platter. However today I want to talk about just one element from my “pu pu platter” – what the Greeks call Gigantes Plaki, or giant beans.

Usually served with bread, Gigantes Plaki (Giant beans baked in tomato sauce, sometimes spelled gigandes) often appear alongside things like olives, feta cheese, tzatziki, and hummus, as part of a meze spread before dinner. However, I served a similar meze platter as dinner when I made these beans. As I said it was hot and the beans (which I cooked early in the morning before the heat set in) were the only thing that required the oven.

Gigantes Plaki

Busy schedule? No worries – Gigantes Plaki can easily be made in parts or stages. They’ll last for days in the refrigerator too. GREG

PS I found these beans at Rancho Gordo.

Gigantes Plaki

Gigantes Plaki (Greek Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce)

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 12Source Greek Baked BeansPublished
Gigantes Plaki (Greek Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried gigantes (or big dried lima beans)
  • 1 cup small diced onions
  • 1 cup small diced celery
  • 1 cup small diced carrot
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (plus more for serving)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water (or more as needed)
  • crumbled feta (oprtional)

Directions

Soak dried beans overnight or at least 7 hours. Boil for 50 minutes and RESERVE 2 cups of cooking liquid before draining beans.

Saute chopped onions, celery, and carrot in olive oil over medium-low heat until tender. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft. Add parsley, mint, dried oregano, and a generous amount of salt and pepper, mix to combine and cook for one minute.

Add crushed tomatoes, stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes. Add reserved bean cooking liquid and bring sauce up to a boil. Remove from heat, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to bake the beans.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Layer cooked gigantes beans evenly in 9×13 baking pan and pour sauce over top. Add about 1 cup room temperature water (don’t let it get too soupy) and bake, uncovered, for 2 hours in the heated oven. Stir approximately every half hour or so, adjusting the moisture level with more water as needed.

Serve warm or at room temperature garnished with feta (if using) and a sprinkle of parsley.