Recently, my friends Katie and Constantine introduced me to the delicious world of Greek baked beans. These are large beans ("gigantes") cooked or baked in tomato sauce. A nutritious and wonderfully satisfying vegetarian dish.
Gigantes or ‘yiyantes’ comes from the Greek word for "giant" or "elephant" beans. Gigantes are large white kidney-shaped beans and are found at Greek and Middle Eastern markets, dried or canned. Like almost anything, other beans can be substituted (such as lima or great northern beans) and be cooked a couple of different ways. You can use a number of different herbs to add flavour such as parsley and dill or Greek oregano and thyme.
Gigantes in tomato sauce is a hugely popular Greek dish. It is typically served as part of the Greek appetizer course called mezedes but can also be served as a side to almost anything, breakfast, lunch or dinner. I recently had them for breakfast with scrambled eggs and toast. If only every morning could be that good.
For a quick addition to meals, try the Palirria or Zenith brands of canned giant baked beans in sauce.Just make sure you buy the giant ones, I have it on good word that they're MUCH better then the smaller varieties.
Recipes: gigantes in tomato sauce
Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska is a good resource for Greek cooking and recipes. I just came across Laurie's clear and detailed description and recipe for baked beans- gigantes in savory tomato sauce.
Greek-Recipe.com has a simple, traditional recipe for giant baked beans which looks very good.
The Constables' Larder has an amazing looking recipe for baked gigantes with tomato and fennel. I've just added this to my list of recipes I've making when I'm back on my feet. But if I were you, I'd try it now.
Greek Food Blogs and Resources
The Constables' Larder
A food blog with a love for Greek food.
The largest collection of Greek recipes
Greek for "gourmet", this is food blog by a Canadian of Greek descent living in Toronto
Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Greek food blogger and cookbook author
Middle Eastern markets in Victoria, B.C.
Here are some places in Victoria that you can find Middle Eastern ingredients such as good quality spices, olive oil, fresh foods, dry goods and canned products like giant baked beans.
Blair Mart, 924 Pandora St. (250 721-1626)
One of the best general Indian and Middle Eastern food markets in town to find good quality spices, dahls, basmati rice, nuts, flatbreads and fresh food.
Indian Food Market, 8-4011 Quadra Street (250 590-9013)
A small food market where you can find fresh curry and fenugreek leaves, dahls and spices.
Lakehill Grocery, D-3949 Quadra Street (250 727-3632)
A well-stocked market with a variety of cheese, Greek pastries and delicacies.
Seven Valleys Fine Food, 2506 Douglas St. (250 382-9998)
My second favorite Middle Eastern food market in town, reliable for stocking up on good quality spices, olive oils, dahls, rice, rosewater, asafoetida and fresh foods.
The Market on Yates, 903 Yates St. (250 381-6000)
A good overall place to buy ethnic foods while shopping for your general grocery needs.