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Gigantes

This is a recipe from Kon’s personal recipe collection. Greek Gigantes are traditionally made with giant butter beans grown in Epirus in northern Greece. This rich and creamy heart-warmer is best scooped up with some humble toast and is one of Kon’s favourite recipes.

  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Serves: 6 people

Ingredients

6-8P
Cannellini beans, drained and washed
4 tins
Tinned Italian cherry tomatoes
2 tins
Garlic cloves
3
Carrots, peeled
3
Fresh nutmeg
1
Paprika
1 tablespoon
Tomato paste
1 tablespoon
Sugar
1 teaspoon
Salt and pepper
 
Parmesan
1 - 2 tablespoons
Tomatoes
2
Brown onions
2
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
 

Download the recipe

Method

  1. Preheat over to 180 degrees.

  2. Oil a deep frying pan & gently fry finely diced onions & garlic till golden.

  3. Add finely diced carrots & continue to cook till tender.

  4. Empty tinned tomatoes into a bowl & crush them with your hands, add to pan & stir gently.

  5. Fill each can (2) with cold water & mix can around to get left over tomato juice, then add to pan.

  6. Add paprika & stir, then add tomato paste & stir.

  7. Grate a little fresh nutmeg into sauce & stir in (careful it is a strong flavour, so just add a little for sweetness).

  8. Add sugar, salt & pepper to taste & stir.

  9. Cook the sauce until it is thickened & boiled down to a rich tomato sauce.

  10. In a rectangular tray empty the tinned cannellini beans (rinsed first) on baking paper, then pour over the sauce & with a spoon gently fold the beans through the sauce evenly.

  11. Cover the beans with thinly sliced tomato, then sprinkle with grated parmesan (just a little) & a very healthy drizzle of olive oil.

  12. Bake in the oven for approx 45 minutes until beans are golden & the sauce has thickened & the tomatoes on top start to resemble sundried tomatoes. Keep cooking until the dish is ready. The beans should be a little firm & the sauce feels like it has absorbed the beans.

  13. Serve hot with some delicious toasted bread of your choice.

Cook’s Notes:
A nice finishing touch when serving this dish is to crumble a little greek feta & a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Italian cherry tomatoes are best because they have a deeper & richer flavours but any tomato will work.

You can easily make this dish vegan by just finishing with vegan parmesan & vegan greek feta instead.

If you have the time, this dish tastes better with dried cannellini beans that are soaked overnight & then cooked til al dente.

To test if the dish is baked & ready, put a knife through the centre of the spanakopita. The knife should come out without too much mix sticking to it, showing that it has cooked well inside.

Do not be afraid to allow the pastry to brown a little & have that well cooked look to it, you don’t want the pastry undercooked.