This recipe for gigantes (beans as big as your thumb) makes for a hearty vegetarian main dish. You can find the beans in Greek groceries—we found ours in a market that specializes in Mediterranean foods. Substitute large lima beans if you can't find gigantes.
1 pound dried gigantes beans or large dried lima beans (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup extravirgin olive oil
3 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped carrot
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried dill
2 teaspoons honey
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; cover and let stand 8 hours or overnight. Drain beans. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until beans are tender. Drain beans.
Preheat oven to 325°.
While beans cook, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in oregano and tomatoes; simmer 10 minutes. Stir in parsley, dill, honey, salt, and pepper. Combine the cooked beans and tomato mixture in a 3-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 1 hour.
Dummy me didn't read all the recipe and didn't see how long this took. I cut the time by cooking the beans in the pressure cooker which cut bean cooking time down to 30 min with no soak. I couldn't find giante or large lima beans so I used great northern. I used the dried dill two teaspoons. I wonder it the one person didn't notice the dried was tsp and not tablespoon. Or maybe really strong dill but mine was fine. Other than that it was exact. So delicious. It' makes a lot for two so next time I think I'm going to make up to the point of the oven divide it up and freeze half for another time.
Adapted ingredients with an Italian twist. Reduced vegetables (onion, celery and carrots) to 1/2 cup each; eliminated dill and added romano cheese grated over top before serving. I didn't need all the bean water as stated in the recipe. I love these beans and will make them again and again. This dish kind of reminds me of an mock gnocchi dish.
I used the dried dill as listed in the recipe. The dill completely overwhelmed this dish. I tasted it before it was added and thought it was good. I'll probably try this again and cut down on the dill by about 75%.
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