I must still have Greece and legumes on the brain, since last week I made a version of the ubiquitous-in-Greece yellow split pea dip that was inspired by a particularly delicious rendition we sampled in Athens (recipe here). This week, an epicurious.com recipe for Greek-style giant beans (or gigantes) really caught my eye, and I went for it, embracing both regional and base-ingredient redundancy. I think it’s okay, though, because wow, these giant beans are enormously delicious! The original recipe suggests serving them with octopus, so if you’re feeling very energized, you can make that as well. I think this recipe is pretty good on its own, though. Or you could serve it along with my Zucchini-Potato Soup with Lemon, Feta, and Dill like I did—it was a great combo!
I think these lighter, Mediterranean-style dishes are a great lead-up to Thanksgiving, which I can’t believe is in just a few days! Andrew and I are going to Pennsylvania to celebrate with my mom and dad, and I can’t wait. We’ll have to really bundle up to run the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning since the high that day is only 29°F, eek! After that we’ll start making our feast, featuring perennial favorites like cornbread dressing with sausage and pecans and Brussels sprouts with bacon and chestnuts, plus (new this year) a heritage turkey. My mom’s chorus is giving their holiday concert on Saturday and I’m looking forward to hearing them and getting into the holiday spirit. We’ll miss my brother, who is busy during his first year of naturopathic medical school at Bastyr University in San Diego. We’ll make up for it all when we get to see him in Pennsylvania over Christmas, and then for a few days after New Year’s in San Diego (which I’ve never visited). I’m sure you’ll get the full report on the San Diego food scene!
Besides running, cooking, and being serenaded, we’ll also plan to do some hiking, antiquing, and even more cooking and baking this weekend. What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Hope you have a wonderful one. And when it’s over and you’re ready for some lighter, Mediterranean-style fare, try this recipe for giant beans!
Giant Beans with Tomatoes, Ouzo, & Dill
adapted from epicurious.com
- 1 lb dried giant beans (also called gigante beans), soaked overnight, or for up to two days in the refrigerator, and drained
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 1 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes, pulled apart with your hands, with their juice
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (use vegetable broth to make this vegetarian)
- 1/4 cup ouzo
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano, preferably Greek
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup chopped fresh dill
- In a very large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown, about 7 minutes. Add the beans, broth, tomatoes and juice, ouzo, vinegar, oregano, and pepper flakes.
- Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until beans are soft, which will take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, depending on the age of the beans and how long you soaked them. Add water as the broth evaporates to keep everything fairly soupy. When beans are cooked, remove the lid and simmer for about 15 minutes more to reduce the sauce if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the fresh dill, reserving some for garnish. Serve hot or at room temperature, and drizzle with additional olive oil if you like.