These were so yummy, my family devoured half of them before I even had a chance to take a picture! This Greek bean dish is super satisfying as a vegetarian main. It can also be a great lunch, or a side dish at a greek inspired dinner party. Traditionally gigantes are made with butter beans, but lima beans fare equally well. Although its a multi step cooking process, the results are well worth the small amount of extra effort you have to expend. The size of the beans are great for toddler finger foods, and the sweet honeyand clove kissed sauce makes them extra appealing to kids too. Even bean naysayers have been known to enjoy these giants. They tend to take on an almost potato-like texture. If you want to skip the soaking and boiling process, you can try using canned beans instead, Many recipes offer this substitution, but having never tried it myself I cant attest to the results.
- 1 pound bag buter beans (or lima beans), soaked for 12 hours, drained
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 large shallot, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cus (15 oz) can chopped tomatoes plus their liquid
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Add the beans to a pot with enough cold water to cover well. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer until just soft throughout but not quite cooked, approximately 50 to 80 minutes, depending on the beans. Drain and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add shallot and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and their liquid, 2 cups water, honey, cloves, salt, and pepper and boil gently for 20 to 30 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Stir in the parsley and dill and remove from heat.
Place the beans in an oven-proof dish, pour tomato mixture on top, stir and spread mixture out evenly. Bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beans are soft. (Check the dish during cooking and if needed, add a small amount of boiling water.) The dish will look crispy on top. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot or at room temperature.
This recipe is adapted from Bobby Flay at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/gigantes-recipe/index.html