Monday, March 18, 2013

Gigantes plaki aka Greek giant baked beans

Gigantes plaki / Kreeka moodi hiidoad tomatis / Baked giant beans with tomato sauce

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 :) The gigantes are native to Greece, and the ones from Kastoria are especially prized, as well as the ones from Florina and Drama regions - all three have the PGI-designation or are recognised by the EU as products of Protected Geographical Indication.

If you're in Estonia, look out for Garrido gigantes (either canned or dried, offered by Kaupmees) or Palirria (large cans, offered by HellenicTrade - these are the ones I've been using). Elsewhere, look for the jumbo beans/elephant beans/gigantes at Greek and Middle Eastern markets.  Amazon.com sells Kastoria giant beans online, and there's also a canned variety available. You can use dried or canned cannellini or lima beans instead, but you'll need to adjust cooking times accordingly.

Serve as part of a mezedes spread, or spoon onto a slice of leavened white bread. I sometimes crumble some decent feta cheese on top at the end of the baking time :P

Giant baked beans, Greek style
A recipe from BBC Good Food (September 2009), slightly modified
Serves 8
 Gigantes plaki / Kreeka moodi hiidoad tomatis / Baked giant beans with tomato sauce

400 g dried giant or butter beans or 3x400 g canned 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

If using dried beans: 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.

If using canned beans: tip the beans onto a large colander, rinse with cold water. Drain and put aside.

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.

Gigantes plaki / Hiidoad tomatikastmes

Similar recipes:
Gigantes sto Fourno @ Kalofagas
Greek style baked beans @ Souvlaki for the Soul
Gigantes in savory tomato sauce @ Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Twice-cooked gigante beans with garlic and feta @ Kalyn's Kitchen
Gigantes plaki (Greek baked beans) @ Closet Cooking
Gigantes plaki: Greek baked beans @ Choosy Beggars
Gigandes plaki by Simon Rimmer
Fasolia Gigantes Plaki: Big Greek Beans baked in a Bodacious Red Sauce @ Sortachef: One Hot Cat in a Woodfired Kitchen
Gigantes plaki @ Jono & Jules do Food & Wine
Gigantes plaki @ Life is Like a Dumpling
Greek baked beans (Gigantes plaki) @ the taste space – steam, bake, boil, shake!
Greek baked beans @ Eats Well with Others

3 comments:

Şifalı Bitkiler said...

I jut had it and it was awesome! Thank you for sharing!

Alanna Kellogg said...

Is this half as good as it looks?!! I've been collecting Greek recipes, this would be a great addition!

Pille said...

Oh, dear Alanna, what kind of question is that!? Of course is good - exactly as good as it looks! I've made it quite a few times -the trick is to season it well, as the beans are huge and don't taste much on their own.