Much like the smoked swordfish, this was something the Missus wanted me to make since we got back from Rhodes this past year. She enjoyed the version from Taverna Kostas (to the right), but wanted something more hearty and moist. At first this seemed like a pretty easy task....but it took me three tries to get something that the Missus enjoyed. First problem; where to get "gigantes", Greek Giant White Beans. I tried large limas, but it wasn't quite the same. I eventually luckily found some dried giant white beans at Balboa Market, not quite the same, but passable. The bean portion is pretty routine....soak overnight. The combination cooking portion I found interesting. The straigh simmer, saute, than bake just didn't do it the first two times. The last time, I played around a bit and made the adjustments for the Missus' tastes. I also went against the old wives tale of not adding acid during the simmer....I added 7 roma tomatoes and two whole heads of garlic with the tops chopped and didn't find that it prolonged the cooking time of about 1-1/2 hour. I ended up heating a ddukbaegi (Korean earthenware pot) in the oven, coating with olive oil then added the beans with a light layer of extra virgin olive oil on the top to finish.
Soak 1 pound giant lima or giant white beans overnight.
Water to cover
7-8 roma tomatoes with an 'x' sliced on the bottom
1-2 whole bulbs of garlic, loose "skin" removed, top chopped off
4-5 whole sprigs fresh dill
1 tablespoon crushed dried oregano
2 bay leaves
- combine all items above
- simmer for 1 hour, then check for doneness
- remove garlic, tomatoes, dill sprigs, bay leaf, and any skin that has come off tomato
- when tomatoes are cool enough remove all skin, squeeze garlic out off bulb, chop tomatoes, reserve
- simmer until beans are done
- drain beans saving 1 cup of simmering liquid
- preheat oven to 450 (I also placed the ddukbaegi in the oven to heat)
1 - 1 1/2 jars of tomato paste. (I like the brand to my left - it's very tangy)
3-4 Tb chopped fresh dill
1 tsp dry oregano crushed
1/2 tsp sugar (if necessary)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
reserved simmering liquid (if necessary)
- in the same pot used for simmering the beans, heat olive oil over medium heat, add chopped roma tomatoes, garlic, oregano, tomato paste.
- when the tomato mixture becomes fragrant, add beans, dill, salt and pepper and set the heat at low and mix to combine well.
- taste, add sugar if necessary, adjust flavor, add more tomato paste, salt, and pepper.
- heat through. If the mixture is very dry add a bit of the bean simmering liquid.
- Coat the pan, pot, whatever with olive oil
- place beans in pot and heat or broil to finish.
For our taste, the beans should be well coated and fairly dry. What you on top is a light layer of extra virgin olive oil that was bubbling away. Once mixed it was all incorporated into the dish. Again, maybe not traditional, but made to our tastes!