This post is divided in three different parts. First part contains the recipe. This is a food blog after all.
Second part contains the winner of the giveaway!
The third and final part contains an award and 7 questions.
So, arm yourselves with a little bit of patience and dive into this post. I am sure you will enjoy it!
Now this is a dish I really love and strangely enough so does my picky son. This kid never ceases to amaze me. This is an all weather, all season food. We eat it in winter, as well as summer. Especially during summer we accompany it with shots of ouzo. I am sure you all know ouzo, next to souvlaki and mousaka is the most well known Greek spirit. Anyway, as I told you this is a meal made throughout the year. You can eat it warm, but also at room temperature, so that means that you can prepare it ahead of time and serve it without heating it. I Greece we accompany it apart from ouzo with bread, olives, feta cheese and a salty fish like anchovies. I didn’t want to eat anchovies, so I used smoked salmon instead. It was delicious. We ate the whole Pyrex all three of us.
Now in the recipe I am giving a few tips to make beans softer. I don’t know if this happens only to Greece or you face the same problem with beans where you live. It seems like they are more of bullets rather than beans, even if they are cooked thoroughly. So I found the way, I mention below, to make them soft and tender. Now here is the recipe but you have to promise me something. If you ever make it please accompany it with the things I mentioned before. Then you will true get a real Greek taste and feeling. Do that and you won’t regret it.
Gigantes or Elephant Beans Casserole
340 gr. elephant beans
4 carrots, 2 sliced, 2 chopped
30 gr. celery (here we use the celery that looks like parsley and not the celery you have in the States. If you can find that ok, if not just put celery but chopped very finely)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
350 gr. tomato juice
400 ml water
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar
10 gr. parsley
100 ml olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 cup water, divided
1 spoon baking soda
The night before, put the beans in a bowl and fill it with water. Let them soak overnight. Next day drain them very well and while in the drainer add one spoonful of baking soda. Mix so as to cover all beans. Let them stay for half an hour and then rinse them very well.
Usually here everyone who makes this dish does all the cooking in the oven. Through experiment and experience I found out that if you cook the beans in the pot and then complete cooking in the oven, the beans do not dry and stay soft.
So this is how I do it.
Take two carrots and chop them finely by hand or in a blender. Do the same with the celery and onion. In a pot or a pressure cooker, as in this case, add the beans, the 2 chopped carrots, the two sliced carrots, the celery, the onion, the tomato juice, the water, nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar. Bring to boil and then if you use a pressure cooker cook according to manufacturer’s instructions for 45 minutes. If you use regular pot reduce fire to medium low and cook about 1 ½ hour.
After this time add turn of fire and add the 100 ml olive oil and salt. Transfer all this to a glass pan add ½ cup of water and the parsley and bake at 200° C for about ½ hour.
At this point check your beans, if they are ready, serve them with all the things I told you before. If you see that the beans want some more baking, add another half cup of water and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes.