Butter beans (Gigantes)
A delicious vegetarian recipe you can serve as an appetizer or main dish
500 g dried butter beans
2 large onions, sliced into rings
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled or 1 can peeled tomatoes, diced
3 long green sweet peppers, sliced in rings
2 cloves garlic (optional), chopped fine
2-3 bay leaves
salt, pepper, oregano to taste
Soak the beans overnight in cold water.
Cook the beans in a large pan with plenty of cold water for 1 hour, or until done. If using a pressure cooker, this will take about a ½ hour.
Preheat oven to 180 °C.
Heat about 4 Tablespoons olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onions and garlic gently until softened. Add the peppers, tomatoes and seasonings and cook about 10-15 minutes, adding a bit of water if necessary. Remove pan from the heat.
Drain the cooked beans, reserving some of the cooking water, and transfer them to an oiled baking dish. Pour on the tomato sauce and stir gently to mix. Add some bean cooking water to almost cover the bean mixture. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top (according to the Greeks, olive oil is not fattening!) and bake in the oven about 40 min. Make sure the mixture does not dry out (add a bit more cooking water if necessary).