Gigantes plaki – the poshest beans on toast

This is a dish I love to make because it can take on so many variations, and you can prepare it a day in advance and like all good tomato dishes it just gets better and richer with time.
Ideally you want butter beans for this traditional Greek dish but I couldn’t find any anywhere. Normally you buy them uncooked and soak them in water overnight before cooking them.  The closest I could get my hands on were tin ready cannellini (Italian white kidney beans) and black eyed beans, which mixed the texture up a bit.
You simply cook off any of the vegetables you want to add (in this case I used plum tomatoes and courgettes) in some olive oil with a large chopped onion and some minced garlic. Then you add a tin of tomatoes, some passata and a big squeeze of tomato puree and let it bubble away.
Its known as a twice cooked dish so you can set it to one side and re heat when you are ready to eat. The longer you leave it the richer the tomato flavour becomes. You may also add some herbs and spices such as oregano, cinnamon and a pinch of sugar. We ate this served with some tasted crusty bread and butter making it a rather indulgent beans on toast. A little bit of grated cheese on top makes this a hearty meal for a cold evening or a nice leftover lunch.


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