The Baked Gigandes Experiment

I’m such a sucker for new beginnings. I love the opportunity to step back, reset, and map out a new path for the road ahead.  This year, as we enter 2017 I have decided to create some intentions rather than resolutions.  Posts like this amazing one shifted my thinking. Rather than saying – as of this day I WILL change this aspect of my life, I am instead going to select a monthly theme (or intention) that I’ll use to guide my decisions and push my thinking when I am stuck.  So, this month, my intention is ‘explore!’

I will explore some new ways to use my solo time as I continue to push myself to disconnect from technology and reconnect with my own hobbies and passions.  The hubs and I plan to find some new adventures for the weekends to find new gems in our city and beyond.   In the kitchen, I will do some more experimentation and perhaps knock a few items off of my ‘to make’ wish list.

With this, last night I experimented with a dish that my aunt served on Christmas.  This dish comes from her husband’s family who is from Greece – a place I hope to someday visit.  I forgot to ask her for her recipe but was able to find a few variations online that seem close – so I used this one as a guide for this dish.  I located the beans at a local greek market and found the process very simple.  

My version of this dish doesn’t yet match hers, but I do plan to keep trying to improve it. Overall I loved this new ‘meaty’ bean.  The tomato flavor cooked into the bean and it stood on its own as the main dish of the meal.  Some articles note that in Greece they actually grate tomatoes or use fresh tomatoes which I think would improve the depth of the sauce.  Eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions as I want this dish to become a family favorite!

gigandes_2

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz dried gigandes Greek beans
  • 2 onions
  • 14.5 can of diced tomatoes
  • 5 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt, Pepper to taste
  • Parsley to taste (I used about 1 tablespoon)

Steps and Notes:

  1. Rinse the beans and soak them overnight
  2. The next day, rinse the beans again and preheat the oven to 350
  3. Boil the beans in a large stock pot for 60 minutes
    • Note: The original recipe said 40 – 60 but I needed the full 60 minutes to get the beans to a properly soft texture
  4. While the beans boil, prepare the sauce.  Start by thinly slicing the onions. Then, saute them over low heat in some oil until soft. About 8 minutes.
  5. Then add the garlic and saute for 3 more minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and parsley.
    • See note below: I suggest creating more sauce.
  7. Combine the tomato paste and water in a side bowl and then mix with the onions.
  8. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil
  9. Cook the sauce for 15 minutes on med-low heat until the sauce slightly thickens. Add a bit more paste or water as necessary.
  10. Drain the beans and place in a mixing bowl. Add the sauce and gently toss.
    • Note: Gently tossing is important. Perhaps even do this in two batches. Some of the beans broke when I first started to stir
  11. Lay the mixture in a wide baking dish and cover with 1/4 cup of oil
  12. Bake for 45-50 minutes and serve with feta.

Thoughts for Next Time:

  • I would add even more tomato to this. Perhaps even double the sauce.  The final beans came out a bit dry after being in the oven but I think this could have been avoided if they were covered fully with sauce
  • Add some ground beef (this is an adaptation from my brain and not an authentic adaptation of this dish!)

Updates:

  • I reheated these leftovers and made a quick red sauce with tomato paste, onions, garlic and basil.  I served the beans and sauce over spaghetti sauce. The textures were excellent and allowed the beans to serve as a full meal.

gigandes_1

4 comments

  1. I have not heard of these beans, but they sure look like what I call Butter Beans! Looks delicious! I like your new plan, it’s certainly a good one to follow. I agree with grating the fresh tomato for the sauce, but probably not when they are not locally vine-ripe. Winter tomatoes have zero taste.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I looked up butter beans and they look similar.Though, they look like they might be more similar to a lima bean while these were more similar to white beans. And yes yes to the fresh tomato! Can’t wait to make these again when they are in season.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. MB Einerson · · Reply

    I so love how you just go for it and blog it and then makes notes on how to improve!! It’s exactly the way I love to cook.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! The blog gives me a space to document my experimentation and then I love coming back and re-making dishes and learning from previous attempts. I agree, it’s such a refreshing way to cook. I’m always reading and learning and growing! Thanks for the note.

      Like

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