Have you tried Lefteris’s Gigandes? You haven’t? Then I insist you drive to Tarrytown and visit Lefteris soon, this weekend even.
Gigandes is a Greek bean dish — giant beans baked in a garlicky tomato sauce until they’re soft and buttery. Usually served as an appetizer, it’s delicious.
You don’t even need an entree. Order Gigandes with a side Greek salad or with a side of stuffed grape leaves, and that’s a full meal.
A quick Google search and I came across this Cooking Light recipe. The beans you can find at a Greek/Middle Eastern grocery store, like Yaranush in White Plains.
1 lb dried gigandes beans
3 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp dill
2 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
The recipe itself is straightforward; the time consuming part is soaking and prepping the dried beans.
You want to cover the beans with two inches of water and soak them for eight hours or overnight. Drain, cover them again with two inches of water and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat and simmer for an hour. Drain.
Meanwhile, saute the onions, celery, carrots and garlic until soft, then add the oregano and tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the parsley, honey, dill, salt and pepper.
Combine the tomato sauce and beans in a baking dish.
(The beans aren’t supposed to fall apart, but a few of mine did during the simmering. Not sure why.)
Bake uncovered for one hour at 325.
I love feta and sprinkled some on top after the dish came out of the oven.
Served with Zaatar bread, also from Yaranush.
The crispy, herby Zaatar and soft, creamy Gigandes go great together. Lefteris’s version is better — the sauce is lighter and more delicate — but as a home dish, this’ll do just fine.
Have a great long weekend everyone!