In this, somewhat unusual dish, the beans have a lovely sweet, creamy and garlicky taste, scented with oregano and plenty of dill.
Photo by MANOUSOS DASKALOGIANNIS
I got the recipe from the North of Greece and I particularly love to bake it in the winter, but also all year round, as I am fed up with the common baked gigantes in tomato sauce that all taverns serve.
From my first book The Foods of Greece
1-pound gigantes, extra-large beans
2 tablespoons dry oregano, preferably Greek
2/3 – 1 cup good olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
½ – 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or red pepper flakes, to taste
6-8 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (as many as you like)
1 1/2 cups chopped dill
1 cup dry white wine
Soak the beans in water overnight. Drain, place in a pot and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to a boil, skim, reduce the heat, sprinkle with one tablespoon of oregano, and simmer for 40 min or more, until the beans start to be tender.
Drain, and keep the liquid.
Preheat the oven to 300 F (150 C).
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onions for about 8 min. until translucent. Add the Aleppo, or pepper flakes and the garlic, the rest of the oregano and the wine, and cook, stirring for 1 minute then remove from the heat. Add 1 ½ teaspoons salt and pour the sauce into an ovenproof glass or clay casserole. Add the beans and toss with half the dill, and about 1 ½ cups of the bean cooking water.
Cover with the lid or with double aluminum foil and bake for about 1 hour, until the beans are very soft, and most of their liquid has evaporated. Check once during cooking, and if need be, add more cooking liquid.
Uncover the beans, drizzle with olive oil and bake another 10-15 minutes to caramelize the top, then sprinkle with the rest of the dill and serve warm, or at room temperature.