Gigantes

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 - 8 people

"Gigantes translates as 'giant beans'," explains Kathy Tsaples. "Satisfying and healthy, they can be eaten immediately with crusty bread, olives and cheese, or left for a day to allow the flavours to be absorbed. It's a favourite dish during Lent, but enjoyable year round."

  • 500 gm lima or butter beans (see note)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced celery
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 400 gm canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
01   Wash beans. Fill a large saucepan with cold water and add beans. Bring to boil on a high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Discard the water. Rinse the beans again.
02   In the same saucepan, add the beans and fill with cold water to 6cm above the beans. Add the celery, carrot and bay leaves, then bring to boil. Once bubbling, turn down the heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
03   Meanwhile, sauté the onion and garlic in oil in a deep frying pan on a medium-high heat until tender (4-5 minutes). Add crushed tomatoes, capsicum, tomato paste, paprika and chilli flakes. Cook for 5 minutes.
04   Preheat the oven to 180C. Pour beans into a baking dish, then add the tomato mixture and sugar. Season to taste. Mix thoroughly. The mixture should not be like a soup but it should not be dry either. Bake, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender (45-50 minutes).
05   Sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot.

Note I try wherever possible to buy Australian beans. Look for unblemished white ones. If they have a tinge of yellow, they're stale. In the event that you can't find the dried variety, feel free to use canned lima beans. The recipe will be the same except that you don't have to bring the beans to a boil. Approximately five cans will give you the same quantity. This recipe is from Sweet Greek: Simple Food & Sumptuous Feasts ($39.95), published by Melbourne Books, and has been edited.

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