Gigantes – or large white butter beans – are popular throughout Greece and are mostly grown in the country’s northwest region, says Carolina Doriti. Typically, the beans are baked; it’s quite common to add sliced sausage, spinach or other seasonal leafy greens, such as chard and sorrel, along with plenty of aromatic herbs. Using high-quality dried beans is important for this dish: I make sure they are from the same year’s harvest. The amount of time you need to boil them for will vary depending on their quality and freshness.

Ingredients: serves 4 people

250g dried giant beand (butter beans)
1 bay leaf
250ml olive oil, plus 3 tbsp
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
200g fennel bulb, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 spring onions, including the green part, chopped
500g spinach, trimmed and roughly chopped (or left whole if not too big)
200g Swiss chard, trimmed and roughly chopped juice of 1 lemon (or more to taste)
2 tbsp chopped dill
2 tbsp chopped parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water. The next day, drain and place in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, drain and cover again with plenty of fresh water. Return to the heat, add a little salt and the bay leaf, and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for 40-60mins or until tender but not overcooked. Drain, reserving 160ml of the cooking water.
While they are cooking, place a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the onion, leek and fennel. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the coriander.
Cook, stirring, until everything begins to soften. Add the garlic and spring onions and stir for another minute. Mix in the spinach and chard, adding in batches in order to wilt them down before adding the next. Adjust the seasoning and spoon the contents of the pan into the base of a deep baking tin or dish, making sure you scrape everything from the pan.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Season the beans with salt and pepper and arrange on top of the greens. Pour in the reserved cooking water from the beans and 80ml of the olive oil, cover and bake in the oven for 20-30mins until the sauce has thickened. Uncover, mix in the remaining oil, the lemon juice and chopped herbs, then return to …read more

Source:: The Week – All news


Recipe of the week: gigantes (white butter beans) with spinach and chard

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