This delicious recipe for Gigantes Plaki comes from the book Cyprus Cooking by George Vyras. I was given this book as a gift from a Cypriot friend many years ago, and there are many delicious recipes inside. Although this recipe is already simple, the one time-consuming step is to soak dried beans overnight. Additionally there is the cooking time for the beans. I simplified this step by using tinned butter beans and I think the end result was still very tasty. In fact, the mix of onion, garlic and herbs gives the beans a lot of flavour. And I suggest to bake it for at least 45 minutes to reduce the sauce, and give it a richer flavour.
2 400g tins of butter beans (should used dried beans, soaked in water then boiled until tender for the traditional recipe)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
400g (14 ounces) tinned chopped tomatoes
4–5 tbsps fresh parsley, finely chopped or 1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2-3 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup of hot water (if needed)
Preheat the oven to 200C.
First, drain the tins of beans (or boiled beans) then put them into a casserole dish. Next, in a large saucepan, add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes over medium heat. Then add all of the remaining ingredients.
Then pour the sauce over the beans and mix to combine. Finally, put the casserole dish into the oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes. At this point, the beans should be bubbling and browning around the edges.
You can leave it uncovered the whole time so that the liquid evaporates and the sauce thickens. If you need to have more sauce, you can add the hot water before serving.
Serve warm with bread.
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