Huge Greek butter beans, soft and chubby as babies’ fists. An unctuous tomato sauce with an aroma that fills the house.
I urge you to make these this weekend if you can – they will not disappoint. Absolutely brilliant served with sausages.
Fasolia Gigantes, from the Guardian Weekend section, 24 September 2005
250g butter beans, or Greek fasolia gigantes (‘giant white beans’), or lima beans, the bigger the better*
125ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 tin (396g) tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt and pepper
If you are using dried beans, soak them overnight in plenty of cold water.
When you’re ready to start cooking, preheat the oven to 170ºC.
Bring a big pot of water to the boil, add the drained beans, and boil for 30-40 minutes until they are well-cooked but not mushy. Drain. If you’re using jarred or canned (pre-cooked) beans, drain and rinse them, then jump straight to the step below.
Heat the olive oil in a casserole or ovenproof dish, add the chopped onion and celery, and fry gently until golden. (It looks like a lot of oil. Perhaps it is. Simply observe this fact and move on.)
Then just add all the other ingredients, season generously, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
*Stock up on jars of these whenever and wherever you find them. Holidays in Spain are my favourite method of procurement, although they are readily available at chichi delis closer to home, sitting prettily on immaculate shelves labelled with extortionate price tags…