This is the kind of dish I like to make when I want something that’s easy to prepare but packed with goodness and subtle summery flavours that have the super power to instantly transport me to my happy place – basically, a two up two down beach house with a summer kitchen anywhere along the coast of the Mediterranean. This stovetop version of the classic Greek gigantes is much simpler than my traditional recipe which is perhaps best saved for a relaxed Sunday morning pottering in the kitchen. And, although this bowl of deliciousness is infinitely better made with dried gigantes – as I’ve done here – you can of course use canned beans if you need to get it on the table within half an hour. That’s my kind of fast food.
400g dried gigantes beans, soaked overnight (or you can use x2 tins of butterbeans, drained and rinsed)
2 tbsp of extra-virgin Kalamata olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2x 400g cans of cherry tomatoes in tomato juice
1 tsp dried wild oregano
1 tsp dried dill
1 lemon, cut into quarters
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to your taste
Fresh dill, finely chopped, to serve
Pul biber, to serve
How I make it
If you’ve pre-soaked the beans overnight, drain and rinse them. Place in a large lidded pan and cover with fresh water. Bring them to the boil, partially cover and simmer until they are soft but still retain a some bite (I turn off the heat before they’re fully cooked and leave the them to quietly continue to cook and cool down in the pan).
Meanwhile, heat up a large frying pan and add the olive oil. When the oil has come up to temperature, add the chopped onion, turn down the heat and allow it to gently fry until it’s soft and translucent. Add the garlic and stir everything around for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and up to one can of water. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
Add the beans, the lemon quarters and the dried herbs to the tomato mixture and simmer gently for a further 15-20 minutes. Season to your taste.
Transfer to a beautiful dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over the pul biber and dill. Serve as a mezze dish or on its own with freshly baked rustic bread and a Greek salad – you can eat the cooked lemon by the way. Try it!