Recipe by: Sunny

This is a popular Greek dish which is called Yighantes, or ‘giant beans’. Sometimes even ‘elephant beans’ are used.

500g large butter beans

Soak at least 12 hours in many changes of fresh cold water (this reduces the ‘gassiness’ that beans are infamous for)
Then boil until half-done, still a bit firm. (13′ in pressure cooker, then left to cool naturally on the element)

2 onions, finely chopped

Heat a few Tbsps of water; sauté the onion until golden.

Add * 3-6 cloves garlic, sliced. Sauté until it begins to smell good but do not allow garlic to burn. Add

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (in winter) OR
600g very ripe fresh tomatoes, peeled & chopped (in summer)
1 tsp sugar
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped (NB avoid this if you are breastfeeding as it stops the milk) OR
1 bunch dill fronds, finely chopped OR
1 bunch dark celery leaves (herb), finely chopped OR
two stalks of celery with leaves, finely sliced

Simmer a few minutes (a bit longer if using raw tomatoes).

Drain the parboiled beans, reserving the cooking liquor. Pour into a shallow baking dish. Spread on the tomato sauce, rinse out the pot with two cups of the cooking liquor, and carefully pour into the baking dish. The beans should be just barely covered with liquid. Bake in a medium oven for about 1 hour, stirring half-way through, but leaving unstirred towards the end so the top beans become crunchy. You may need to top up with cooking liquor from time to time, as the beans will absorb more liquid as they soften. But towards the end they should be left to become fairly dry, just with a tomato (and oil) sauce, not soupy. Serve with crusty fresh bread to mop up the sauce, and pickles. (In Greece they also have feta cheese with this–info provided for any non-vegan people sharing this meal.)

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