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Sunday, 20 January 2013

A GREEK VEGETARIAN DISH

Good Morning to you,

As promised, I am going to show you my version of Gigantes Plaki.

I can hear you asking, what on earth is Gigantes Plaki. Gigantes means large and normally this dish is made with large Greek butter beans. Plaki means baked, so we are going to bake our large butter beans.



This is a delicious side dish, which I learnt how to make whilst living in Cyprus. It can be enjoyed with chicken or meat, or even eaten on it's own, which we sometimes do, with crusty bread dipped in olive oil.

When this dish is cooked, it is best to leave it to cool a little and serve warm, rather than piping hot. If you eat these beans hot, then you loose the flavour. Eaten warm, the flavours are enhanced.

Ordinarily, I would use dried butter beans, or Lima Beans as I believe they are known in America, as they are much cheaper to buy. Tinned or beans in  jars, do cost more, but even they do not make this an expensive meal. Consequently this is a very economical dish to make.  On this occasion I had some large Spanish Beans which I used.

 If you are using dried butter beans, you will have to do one thing the night before. 

Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water,  almost to the top, with about two inches to spare. Leave the beans to soak overnight, to allow them to absorb the water. If you have not cooked with dried beans before, you will be amazed how hydrated they become after soaking over night, as they will practically fill the bowl. Hence the difference in weights for the dried and  the tinned beans in the Ingredients list.

The following day, cook the butter beans for 50-60 minutes in a large pan of boiling water. The length of time depends on the age of the beans, the older the beans, the longer it will take them to cook. Do not salt the beans at this stage as salt has a tendency to harden the skins. We will season later.

If you are using tinned or as in my case, butter beans from a jar, then this is a straightforward dish which can be made the day you want to eat it for supper.

INGREDIENTS


400g dried butter beans (Lima beans)
or 3 400g tins of butter beans
3 tablespoons of olive oil 
4 medium onions sliced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
800g of ripe tomatoes 
or 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon of oregano
Salt and black peppers

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
Use a large dish with at least a 3" depth


Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide pan
and add the sliced onions.
Cook until translucent


Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes,
if using tinned chopped tomatoes,
reserve the tomato juice.


Add the dried oregano
and cook for a further 5 minutes
If you would like to know how to dry your
own oregano see here


Place the butter beans in a large dish


Add the tomato and onion mixture 
to the butter beans and combine 


Add half a pint of water,
but if you are using tinned tomatoes
add the tomato juice, then make up to half a pint with water.
Season with black pepper
and sea salt

Cover with foil, place in the oven for 40 minutes

Remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes

Leave to stand for 30 minutes, as this will allow the butter beans to absorb any remaining liquid.


Drizzle with a little olive oil
Add some crusty bread
and 
Enjoy!

As with all recipes there are little tweeks. I have some friends who use red onions which make the dish a little sweeter, others add tomato paste to give a more distinctive tomato flavour, so I am looking forward to seeing how my friend Dimi who writes the blog Aussi Dimi Decoupage cooks her Gigantes.

Looking out of my window, all I see is snow, everything looks so beautiful.

So whatever your weather, have a lovely weekend and I will see you later in the week.  Until then, take care.






18 comments:

  1. Hi Daphne. I think your recipe will be on our table this week. As I know I have large beans & tinned tomatoes in my pantry & always have the rest of the ingredients on hand. It might be our life saver as we are snowed in yet again. Before we went to bed it had started to rain so we thought'the snow will be gone when we get up' wrong !! the rain turned to snow. So thanks a million for the quick & easy recipe, which will come in handy, even if the snow plough does pass our house. Not a chance on a Sunday in rural France.One of the joys of living in the sticks.

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  2. I love butter beans and now I have a new recipe to try! Thank you!

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  3. This looks delish! I'm going to have to pin this one and try it later.
    Thank you!

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  4. You lived in Cyprus? That must have been a wonderful experience, Daphne.

    Your bean dish looks delicious! I'd like to try this recipe.

    Have a wonderful week.

    -Karen

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  5. I love beans! looks delicious. thanks for sharing. I am going to make it as soon as I find some large lima beans

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  6. Dear Daphne,i cooked this food on Friday,i made it just like your recipe but instead of oregano,i put in parsley, and sliced carrots!It can be enjoyed with feta cheese,i's a delicious food!!Thanks for mention me in your post!I know you have a lot of snow,i saw it on TV!!Wishing you a very lovely week!!Take care!!
    Dimi..

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  7. Good afternoon Daphne, Sound a lovely sounding recipe and such a clear tutorial. I will definitely have to give this a try when I pick up some butter beans. Dear husband loves anything with beans and this recipe sounds like a refreshing change...light compared to his heavy choices. Thank you and I hope you have a great week! Debbie

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  8. This sure looks healthy and delicious, Daphne. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such sweet comments.

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  9. Oh yum!! This looks so good and perfect for a winter day. I love making soup from dried beans and veggies. So nutritious and easy to freeze too. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

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  10. Well, I'm a vegetarian and I know I need to eat more beans. So this recipe is right up my alley. Thanks for sharing! I'm pinning this one.

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  11. Daphne,
    This dish looks so yummy. I've never heard of it before. It kind of looks like a soup. My husband was just telling me yesterday how much he loves soups. Thanks for sharing.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

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  12. A lovely dish, Daphne. I do prefer red onions for their slight sweetness.

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  13. Hello!
    You are a no-reply comment blogger so I ran over to say thanks fro the visit on my burlap banner. You left such a sweet comment :)
    Have a wonderful week-Shannon

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  14. This looks like a wonderful way to warm up on a winter day! Thanks for the recipe.

    Lynn

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  15. hi Daphne! Ooooh How I love butter beans. I have to get HM to make this. I am not the cook around here, but he has taught me stuff to make, I just don't enjoy it like you and he does. Hahaha. Yes I do think LL and Buddy will be buddies! LOL

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  16. Hi Daphne, lima beans are a staple in the Deep South. This is a terrific recipe. I often read blog recipes then never make them but this one I will make. hugs, Olive

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  17. Hi Daphne, I love butter beans so I shall definitely be trying this recipe.

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  18. Adorei a receitinha , adoro feijaƵ branco e tomates!
    boa semana! bjsss

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Dear Friends,

It is so wonderful to know you enjoy reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment. I really do appreciate it.

Best wishes to you.

Daphne

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