Simply Healthy Family: Fasolia Gigantes with Herbs and Crumbled Feta: Original and Slow Cooker version

26.4.11

Fasolia Gigantes with Herbs and Crumbled Feta: Original and Slow Cooker version

























This is such a wonderful variation from the normal way we eat beans which is either Cuban style black beans or Mexican/Southwestern style pinto beans. I just can't tell you how wonderful these taste, especially with the freshly made sauce and then baked to perfection. I must thank Don from SortaChef for turning me on to this amazing dish. His site is wonderful and you must check it out right now! Wait!  Read my post first, then go read through his amazing collection of recipes using a wood fire oven.  Also, thanks to Pomi for sending me a variety of their boxed tomatoes to check out. I immediately thought of this dish to make using their fresh, boxed tomatoes straight from Italy.




A note on the safety of canned tomatoes

Most canned tomatoes {I've only found that Trader Joe's brand does not contain BPA or additives in their canned goods} are synonymous with high sodium and chemicals. They contain  preservatives, citric acid, toxic BPA and other additives, we all know canned tomatoes are not a good alternative to fresh tomatoes. A great way to “kick the can” is to bring safe, healthy tomatoes to the table like Pomì!

Pomì is a brand of 100% all natural, BPA-free boxed tomatoes straight from Italy. It is packaged in a SIG Combibloc without preservatives, additives, water or citric acid and the tomatoes are never grown with pesticides or through the use of genetically modified seeds. Pomì is also rich in Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant which can help decrease a person’s risk for certain types of cancers, such as prostate and lung cancer. The Pomi tom's made my sauce taste oh-so fresh and wonderful.

I ended up with a very fresh and rustic tasting dish. I love when you can actually taste the realness of something. Yes, fresh tomatoes are best of course but with produce inflation this is a good alternative.
This last time I made the gigantes, I didn't have any feta :(    I decided Feta is a must with these
but alas, they are not pictured here. Sorry. Mommy brain disclaimer should be stamped on my blog.




I have made Fasolia Gigantes before, once with this original method and twice in the slow cooker. I should say that these are the original and the lazy versions, but maybe that's redundant  ;)
The slow cooker method is still wonderful but maybe not quite as flavorful since skipping the final baked in goodness. If you make them in the slow cooker, still saute the onion, carrot and garlic for 5-7 minutes then add everything to the cooker. Cook on the lowest setting for 8-10 hours.

Traditionally, in Greece these are baked in a big wood fire oven which is on my 'Must Have Immediately' list. A girl can dream can't she?


recipe from SortaChef


SERVES  6-8     COOKING TIME  90-120 minutes
Ingredients:
2 cups Greek giant beans (if you can't find them, use Great Northern beans)
1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons Greek oregano
1½ teaspoons thyme
2 ounces of Greek olive oil, divided
1-28 ounce can plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1½ teaspoons salt (preferably grey sea salt)
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar


Crumbled feta and flat leaf parsley or fresh thyme for garnish






MAKING THE FASOLIA GIGANTES


*Soak beans overnight in cold water to cover by an inch or more. Minimum soaking time: 8 hours.
Note: There is no absolute cooking time for these beans, so your teeth will have to tell you when they are cooked through without becoming mushy. Once they have attained the right texture, they will hold that throughout baking in the red sauce.


If you follow directions below and bring pre-soaked gigantes to a soft boil in about 15 minutes, the shortest cooking time from that point will be 50 minutes. After that, you’ll want to bite-test a bean every ten minutes; when the bean’s flesh gives all the way down with no hard bit in the middle, your beans are cooked to perfection.


Cook the gigantes: Drain the soaking water and replace with cold water to cover by at least an inch. Over medium heat, with a lid half cocked over the pan, bring the water slowly to a boil. This should take 15 minutes.
Boil gently with the lid partly covering for 50 minutes, at which point you want to test the beans every 10 minutes for doneness.  Beans are cooked when you can bite through a bean without encountering resistance in the middle. The varying cooking time depends on how old the beans are among other things.


Once beans are tender, pour into colander to drain the water. Put beans into a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, and set aside.


Make the sauce: While the beans are cooking, simmer the onion, carrot and garlic in 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan or skillet. Sprinkle with some of the oregano and thyme.


After about 5-7 minutes, when the onions are translucent and slightly brown at the edges, add the juice from the tomatoes while scraping browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Add tomato paste, whisk to combine. Chop the tomatoes (I do this with kitchen scissors in the can) and add to the veggies. Add the sugar, the salt and pepper and let simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring as necessary to keep from sticking. Add ½ cup water and continue at a bare simmer until ready for the next step.


Preheat oven to 375°


Pour the sauce evenly over the beans.  Drizzle on any remaining olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining herbs. Bake for 30-40 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed into the beans.


Serve warm with a bit of crumbled feta and herbs sprinkled on top and with pita bread and Kalmata olives.




I like to eat this Greek dish while sitting on the patio of my summer home in Greece. {I call it dreaming, not denial}
picture credit






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11 comments:

  1. You crack me up - your Summer home in Greece! That's RIGHT next to mine!

    Thanks for yet another fabulous recipe!!!

    Jess

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  2. Uuuuummmmm, that's MY summer home in Greece. And those are my beans. ;P

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  3. OK! You can keep the summer house, it's yours. But I'm the guest of honour and I want that beans! :)
    Looks so good!

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  4. These beans do look fantastic, oh and with feta...nice :) I love Pomì when I do not have time for fresh.

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  5. Truly, I don't use my crockpot enough. Pulling it out today!

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  6. I just found your blog and it's lovely, the beans look amazing! I've just become a follower.
    Mary

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  7. This dish looks so good! I am going to put it on my must try list.

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  8. Great recipe! Dreaming of being in Greece? You and me both ;-)

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  9. A truly great dish for your summer home in Greece :)

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  10. That looks delicious! I love beans so I can't wait to try it.

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  11. You crack me up - your Summer home in Greece! That's RIGHT next to mine!

    Thanks for yet another fabulous recipe!!!

    Jess

    ReplyDelete

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