Gigantes plaki is a popular Greek dish whose main ingredient is a large bean baked in a tomato and vegetable sauce. Perhaps some of you during your holiday have already had the opportunity to try this delicious and filling meal. If not, it is worth to prepare them at home. It should also appeal to vegetarians, because vegetables prepared according to Greek recipes are full of flavor and very aromatic.
When preparing Giant Slices, one must remember about the long preparation time, because the basic ingredient, ie beans, requires soaking and then boiling. However, the recipe itself is quite simple to prepare, and the ingredients are generally available. The dish also tolerates reheating, what's more, when we are put away for the day, it even gains its taste. You can use this by making a larger portion of Gigantes Plaki.
Some of the Greeks preparing the sauce first pre-cooked its ingredients in a pot, so far we've done it too. Recently, however, we have seen a slightly different way of preparation for Greek women and the final effect seems to us much better.
1. Pour the dried beans over cold salted water and let them soak for about 10 hours. Then drain the beans from the water, rinse, put into a pot and again pour cold salted water. Bring to a boil and cook on high heat for 10 minutes, after which we repeat the activities by flooding the drained beans with a lot of cold water. This time we bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes.
2. While the beans are boiling, prepare the vegetables: cut the carrot into thin half-slices, cut the celery stalks into thin slices. We cut the onions very finely or grate them with a coarse mesh. Tomatoes grate on a coarse mesh, discard the skin and pour about 1/2 cup of olive oil, season with salt, pepper and sugar and mix thoroughly.
3. After cooking the beans, strain it and translate it into a quite large ovenproof dish. We add the previously cut carrot, celery, onion and mix. Pour the whole with grated tomatoes, put in 2 bay leaves and sprinkle with chopped parsley. On some Greek islands, this dish is topped with a small amount of honey. At the end, the whole is completed with the maximum amount of water.
4. Gigantes roast baked without covering in 180 degrees for at least an hour. After this time, we check whether the beans are soft and whether the other vegetables are also baked. If their condition requires even longer baking, we leave them in the oven for a further 15-20 minutes (it is worth regularly checking their softness and checking the amount of water, because the beans should not dry out).
I have never had a good opinion about stuffed vegetables. I always associated them with a bland and not very tasty dish. Until I came across a Greek way to prepare stuffing. The proportions and its ingredients are excellent, so stuffed peppers for good has settled on our table. And the Greeks once again proved that they know how fantastic vegetables can be made. The dish needs a lot of ingredients, but the compilation tastes great, so you should not eliminate anything. If you get some stuffing, you can use it to stuff tomatoes. It will also be good, although the pepper works better due to the specific, distinctive taste. As in the case of other dishes in which feta occurs, do not use its Polish or German substitutes, because these cheeses taste completely different than the original Greek feta, which combined with a large amount of herbs clearly enliven the taste of the dish.
Pilaf with tomatoes is a simple and light dish, which is worth doing especially when there are fresh ripe tomatoes. However, when there is no season or longer, you can reach for tomatoes from the can. If you feel that the taste of this dish is too delicate, you can enrich it and add some optional spices.
Today, we offer aubergines stewed with a sauce with this addition. Instead of xinochondros you can possibly add equally popular trahanas, but in our opinion then the dish gets too bland and requires stronger seasoning. In our opinion, Xinochondros fits much more into this dish. Both xinochondros and trahanas can of course be bought in Crete in typical grocery stores.