Gigandes Plaki is the perfect meze dish to accompany every authentic Greek meal.
The majority of Greek recipes on Greedy Gourmet has been demonstrated by The Real Greek restaurant chain, based mostly in London but slowly branching out to different parts of the UK. Somehow it worked out that I visit the restaurant on an annual basis to shoot three recipes and this year proved no different. What a joy it is to learn more and more about this fantastic cuisine.
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Gigandes. Yigandes. Gigantes. There are many ways to spell this Greek word, which means “giant”. If you can’t get hold of butter beans, you can substitute it with another variety but you’ll miss the large, pillowy goodness when you bite into the former.
The name itself might seem exotic but if you love your baked beans then you’ll adore the Greeks’ version. Like most Mediterranean recipes the preparation is simple so there is no need to feel intimidated. It’s a matter of soaking the beans the night before. Parboiling them and skimming off the scum, adding the veg and simmering everything until cooked and tender. At the very end you can add the herbs for extra flavour.
What makes this dish so beautiful is its versatility. On its own vegans can eat it guilt free. As for hardcore meat eaters, just about any meat but especially sausage, pork belly and chicken breast, can be enjoyed with the beans. Vegetarians can chuck in a few chunks of feta cheese to bulk up the food as a main course. Gigantes Plaki can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as a snack, side dish or main course. Best of all, it’s healthy, cheap and doesn’t hurt the environment.
- 450g (1lb) dried butter beans
- 1.3l (2 pts) water
- few sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 Bay leaves
- 150g (5oz) sofrito
- 200g (7oz) tomato passata
- 5ml (1 tsp) salt
- 75ml (5 tbsp) olive oil
- 20g (1oz) flat parsley, chopped
- 10g (1/2oz) fresh basil, chopped
- 2.5ml (1/2tsp) ground black pepper
- Soak beans in water overnight
- Drain the beans the next day and place in a large pot with 1.3 litre of fresh water.
- Bring to the boil.
- Once they have come to the boil and you have skimmed off the scum, add the sofrito and the salt. Top up with water if necessary.
- When the beans are almost cooked add the tomato passata and cook on low heat, simmering for another 20 minutes or until beans are soft. Stir frequently.
- Allow to cool a little then add the chopped parsley, basil, pepper and olive oil.
- Serve in large casserole dish finished with ladolemo and herb garnish.
- Cuisine: Cuisine
- Calories: 465
- Sugar: Sugars
- Sodium: 521 mg
- Fat: 15.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 40.5 g
- Fiber: Dietary Fiber
- Protein: 14.7 g