This one pot wonder is a dish that we enjoyed when Ophelia knocked all the power out. It’s also a dish that we enjoyed whilst in Crete called ‘Gigantes’, which are butterbeans to you and me. It was available everywhere that we went and one that I ate often. It’s very simple to make. It starts off with gently cooking onions, celery, carrots and garlic, which then melt down with tomatoes, oregano and butterbeans. You can posh it up with a the addition of fennel if you have some but really the beauty of this recipe is that it’s likely that you have the ingredients in the vegetable basket and pantry. Well maybe not everyone has beans but canned beans can be a lifesaver if it’s dark and you are cooking in candlelight. In an emergency situation like this these beans are delicious mopped up with bread but if your kitchen is in full swing they are also good with spuds and salad on the side.
This makes four generous servings.
Gigantes aka Butterbeans
• 1 large or 2 medium onions
• approx 75mls olive oil
• 2 sticks celery
• 2 carrots
• 2-3 cloves garlic
• 2 cans tomatoes
• 2 cans butterbeans
• 1tsp oregano
• salt and pepper
Peel and chop the onion finely.
Put the pan on the heat then pour in enough olive oil to generously cover the bottom. Add the onions and give them a stir. Cook gently on a medium heat whilst you prepare and add the rest of the vegetables. Don’t let them brown.
Wash the celery and cut into three or four strips lengthwise then dice small. Stir in with the onions.
Peel the carrots, cut into three or four lengthwise then dice and add to the onion and celery. Season with a little salt and cook gently until the vegetables soften.
Peel the garlic and chop finely. Stir into the veggies and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes – chop them roughly if they are whole – stir in the oregano. Rinse the tomato cans with a little water and add to the pot, bring everything to the boil then turn to simmer. Cook for fifteen minutes.
Drain the butterbeans and rinse under the tap. Stir into the tomato sauce. Add a scant half teaspoon of salt and some ground black pepper, bring everything back to the boil then turn to simmer. Cover with a lid and cook gently for ten minutes. Take the lid off. Taste, add more salt if you think it needs it then finish cooking with the lid off for another ten minutes, give the odd stir so that the beans don’t stick.
Painless candlelight dining!