Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gigante Beans by Any Means

When I try new foods, I'm often surprised at how fantastic they are.  Gigante beans are definitely one of those foods!  The first time I tried them, they were cooked Greek style.  I was thoroughly impressed!

A few months ago, one of my friends asked me if I was familiar with them and if I knew where to find some in bulk.  I was familiar with them, but I had no idea where to find them.  After at quick Google search, I figured out I could find them here in Seattle at Big John's PFI near the International District.  If you are a foodie in the Seattle area, you simply must go visit this store!

Low and behold, there they were - $4.99/lb for gigante beans.  Score!  The cheapest I could find them online was for $5.99 per pound plus shipping fees through Amazon .  Alternatively, I just purchased several pounds of them from Big John's and went home.  Now what?
After doing some searching for similar recipes to the one I had previously eaten, I pieced this recipe together.  I have to say it was superb!  It is definitely being added to our "cycle" of foods we make every so often.  Though it does take a bit of time, it can be broken up easily by soaking overnight, cooking them in the pressure cooker the next evening, and baking them the next day.  Or it can all be done one weekend afternoon.

This recipe can be easily doubled.  It yielded about 6 servings.  Alternatively, you could probably easily double all of the other ingredients in the recipe (except for gigante beans) and it would still be quite tasty.

1 lb dried gigante beans (soaked overnight, or at least 4 hours)
Water to soak the beans
Water to cook the beans in a pressure cooker
½ large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
½ orange bell pepper, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
½ red bell pepper, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably Italian seasoning
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, sliced  into 1/2 inch discs, big disc pieces cut in half or quarters
1 stalk celery & leaves, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 chicken bouillon cube, crumbled
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/3 cup coconut oil (or olive oil)
1/3 lb bacon, chopped (or 6 oz. bacon and 6 oz good quality pork sausage, cut up) (optional)
Ground pepper, to taste
Hot water to cook the beans in the baking dish
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
¼ cup (approx.) of crumbled Feta cheese


  1. Cook the pre-soaked beans in a pressure cooker, with enough water to cover by one inch, for 20 minutes.  Depending on the style of pressure cooker you have, only count the 20 minutes once the pressure cooker has begun to whistle at regular intervals (for mine, this is about 3x a minute using a 5 lb weight).  Once the 20 minutes are up, turn the heat off the beans and leave them in the pressure cooker, undisturbed, for 2-3 hours before proceeding with recipe.  (Note: if you do not have a pressure cooker, cook the beans with 3 cups of water for every 1 cup of beans in a heavy saucepan with a lid.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and then cook them for 45 minutes to an 1 hr 30 minutes, depending on how fresh your beans are.  You might have to add cooking liquid if cooking for a long period of time.  I would suggest letting them sit in the water, covered, for at least 1 more hour after they are done cooking.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees farenheit.
  3. Strain the beans and pour them into a large glass baking pan.  Note: it is okay if the beans are still a little firm at this point, but they should be plumped up quite nicely.
  4. Combine all of the remaining ingredients, except the dill, and mix well.
  5. Pour in enough hot water to cover beans by 1" in the baking dish.  Note: If the baking dish is not deep enough to cover the beans, pour enough water until it reaches 1“ from the top.  You only want to cover the beans 1” above where they originally came to in the pan before you added the other ingredients.
  6. Place the baking dish in oven and bake for 1 hour 45 minutes.  If you prefer to have your beans more tender, check the beans for the consistency after the 1 hour 45 minutes time is up.  If you want them to have a more tender texture, cook them for an additional 30 minutes.
  7. Stir the dill in, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the baking dish from the oven, and serve in bowls. 
  9. Top with a few crumbles of Feta cheese in each bowl, and enjoy!

For the nutritional values of this recipe, you can log it through the My Fitness Pal application.  Just search for "Larena's Gigante Beans."  Disclaimer: this nutritional value calculation is just an estimation, and it is based off 6 servings.  

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