Giant Beans Baked with Honey and Herbs


The best Greek giant beans are from the north, especially from Prespes and Kastoria, as well as from a region of the northern Peloponnses called Feneo. When cooked, they are creamy without being mushy, and that's the way gigantes -giant beans- should be. You can also substitute butter beans for this dish. To find authentic Greek giant beans, honey and olive oil to use in this recipe, go to my online store here.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. / 450 g dried Greek giant beans
  • 1/2 cup / 125 ml Extra-virgin Greek olive oil
  • 2 red onions finely chopped
  • 3 cups Plum tomatoes peeled, seeded, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1 bunch fresh dill chopped
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • Salt
  • Pepper freshly ground
  • 2 – 3 tbsp. crumbled feta for garnish

Instructions

  1. Soak the beans overnight in ample water. Drain the next day. Place in a large pot with cold water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, skimming the foam off the top. Simmer beans for 1-1 ½ hours, until tender but firm.
  2. In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the extra-virgin Greek olive oil over medium heat and cook the onions, stirring frequently, until wilted and lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
  3. Remove beans from heat and drain, but reserve the water.
  4. Place beans in a large baking pan with 6 tablespoons extra-virgin Greek olive oil, the onions, tomatoes, a little of their own water, and honey. Mix thoroughly. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for about 1 – 1 ½ hours, or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thick and creamy. Add more water throughout baking, if necessary, to keep the beans from burning. Fifteen minutes before removing from oven, add dill, vinegar, tomato paste, salt and pepper.
  5. Sprinkle with crumbled feta, if desired, and serve either hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Notes

One of my all-time favorite recipes. You can serve these Greek giant beans hot or at room temperature. They are great with feta, too. If you can't find giant beans, use limas or butterbeans, but adjust the cooking time according to package directions.

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