A wonderful version of baked beans that is redolent with onion, garlic and tomato. I like to add feta or goat cheese for a bit or richness and tang. This dish can be served hot or at room temperature at any time of the year. It’s especially delicious the next day or two, so you might wish to make it ahead of time. I add a little water when reheating the beans after a day or two. The beans are super creamy and wonderful, with no “Lima bean graininess”.
Gigandes Plaki – Baked Giant White Beans
1# dried giant white beans, sometimes labelled as giant lima beans, soaked overnight in lots of water with 3 T of salt
3 T olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, very thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, diced
2T parsley, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried Greek oregano
1 c tomato sauce, or 1 T tomato paste dissolved in 1 c H2O
extra water if desired
6 oz feta cheese, cut into large chunks (I have also made this with goat cheese)
salt and pepper
The night before you make these, or the morning before, soak the beans in a huge quantity of water with the salt added, for overnight, or a minimum of 8 hours.
Drain the soaked beans and throw away any loose skins from the beans. Do not be alarmed if they look wrinkled, split or otherwise strange. Place the beans in a large saucepan, cover with cold water by several inches and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a slow simmer. Cook the beans at a simmer for 40 minutes, skimming the foam or scum that rises to the top of the water. When most of water is absorbed and the beans are tender with no resistance, remove from the heat, drain a little and let cool.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, sauté onions and garlic with a good pinch of salt for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, over medium heat. Then add the carrots and tomatoes and sauté for another 10 minutes.
Add the cooked beans, put in large shallow dish, add everything else, except the cheese, and taste for enough salt and pepper. The sauce should be slightly soupy but the beans should not be swimming. Gently fold in the cheese, and bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until beans are soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Beans should be slightly burnt on top.