GIGANTES PLAKI (or, Giant Baked Beans)
When we say “baked beans” often we think of Boston baked beans, soft-cooked in molasses and syrupy-sweet. Instead, this recipe uses butter beans, a large, creamy legume that is also known as a lima in its adolescent stage (like certain humans, the lima bean develops a sweeter palate and fades to cream from the sickly chartreuse of its preteen complexion.)
This Greek dish is a traditional component of Mezze, or the appetizer course which precedes a meal. It is fundamentally not so different from the baked beans we know: simmered in a tomato based sauce with a touch of sugar and a dash of paprika, the result is mouth-watering. Kids in my class loved dicing the onions, garlic, and carrot that compose the sofrito base, and then finely chopping the herbs which really give it its flavor.
Depending on your chopping prowess and how many small hands you are supervising, the dish can be assembled in around 45 minutes.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot finely diced
1 can chopped tomatoes (appprox. 16oz)
1 can butter/lima beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon paprika
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
Heat oil in pan and saute the onion, carrot, and garlic.
Add remaining ingredients, EXCEPT the beans, and stir well.
Cover the pan and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
Add beans, stir and simmer with the lid on for 15-20 minutes or until carrots are tender.