Brrrr… we’ve put the heating on this week and my winter coat has surfaced from the back of the wardrobe. The clocks have gone back, and it’s beginning to feel a lot like autumn. But instead of craving root vegetable soups and wintery suppers, I’ve been trying to hang on to the last glimpses of summer, (well British Summertime at least), by cooking summer holiday food – the sort of dishes you might enjoy with a cold glass of wine on a sun-drenched terrace overlooking the sea.
Here’s a quick and easy recipe based on the traditional Greek ‘Gigantes Plaki’, (literally ‘giant baked beans’), a meze dish of giant white runner beans in a rich tomato sauce. To make this into a speedy 20 minute recipe, I’ve used tinned butterbeans instead, which are a really good alternative and save all the faff of soaking and boiling which I never seem to get around to despite best intentions.
I served my Tomato & Herb Gigantes Beans with some crusty bread and a very simple green salad, but with a bit more time you could make up a full meze platter with olives, flatbreads, dips and perhaps some roasted baby new potatoes and marinated and griddled aubergines.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 tsp ready-chopped garlic / garlic purée (or 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed)
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 400 g tin butterbeans
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- handful baby spinach
- handful fresh parsley
- 8-10 fresh mint leaves
- Heat the oil in a large lidded frying pan or casserole. Peel and finely chop the onion and carrot and add to the pan, along with the garlic and paprika. Cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Drain and rinse the butterbeans and add to the pan, then add the tinned tomatoes. Refill the empty tomato tin half way with water, and add to the pan, along with the tomato purée, sugar and dried oregano. Season well with salt and black pepper, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 12-14 minutes.
- Roughly chop the baby spinach, then add to the pan and cook uncovered for 2 minutes. Roughly chop the parsley and mint and stir through the stew just before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning if required, then serve alongside crusty bread and a crisp green salad.
Stuck for ideas of what to do with a tin of butterbeans? Take a look at: