The baked white beans in the Greek way, “gigantes plaki”, (γιγαντεσ πλακι στο φουρνο), is one of the classic dishes served in most taverns in Greece and is a popular dish in Greek homes. Gigantes plaki is a tasty dish based on giant beans, which are boiled until soft and then baked in a delicious tomato sauce until the beans absorb all their juices and caramelize.
Gigantes can be eaten as a main course or as part of a meze plate. Make a big batch: the stew is better on day 2 or 3. I “tested” the stew when we had the family from Sweden at home and the dish was appreciated by both vegetarians and carnivores. Serve with feta cheese, chopped fresh basil or dill and (preferably) with a Greek country bread.
The recipe below is my own variation and won’t necessarily taste like the gigantes plaki you tried in Greece.
Gigantes plaki: ingredients and preparation
- 5 dl white beans (soak overnight and boil the soft ones the next day in 2 liters of water with salt),
4-6 black peppercorns and bay leaves for approx. 45 min. Let the beans drain
- Chop into bite-sized pieces: 1 leek, 2-3 carrots, 1-2 sweet red peppers, 1 chili fruit, 6 large tomatoes (I usually remove the skin). If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, you can replace the fresh tomatoes with 2 cans of crushed tomatoes
- Chop the green spices that you have or like best. I use marjoram plus oregano for the stew and dill or basil for serving
- 1-2 tablespoons of tomato puree that you mix with the juice from the tomatoes (and/or 1 to 2 dcl of water) and 1 tablespoon of honey
- salt, pepper
- 1 dl olive oil
Almost done! Put the beans in the baking dish and pour over the sauce with tomato puree. Then layer upon layer the chopped vegetables. Finish everything with the chopped tomatoes and green spices. Drizzle olive oil over everything, cover with a lid or aluminum foil and place on the lower part of the oven, which is heated to 175 degrees. It takes about 90 minutes, but if there is too much water, remove the lid and bake for a few more minutes. Kali orexi!