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Monday, October 24

Greek Baked Beans

This was inspired from our dinner at Meteora Taverna. The beans and lamb were so good, I wanted nothing but to try this at home. I looked up many recipes online and created my own from the various versions. The key was to braise the meat with the beans. The other thing were the herbs, dill and oregano were repeated in almost all the recipes. Parsley was also an important element but I don’t remember parsley in the dish we ate at Meteroa so I omitted it. That and Parsley and I don’t get on so swell. It’s not you Parsley, it’s me. However I can say I’ve given Parsley a chance here in Deutschland and it’s worked so far, I added it to a soup and I didn’t mind its forthright taste. Who knows, this may be the place I find Parsley’s flavor appealing. The recipe implies baked beans but I, on the other hand, did not bake ours. This is why I call it my own recipe.

Gigantes Plaki (Greek Baked Beans) and Chicken

1 1/2 cup dried gigantes (or lima beans)
4 bone-on chicken pieces, (dark meat is preferred because of the long braising time)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic
4 cups water (stock would be better)
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 medium tomatoes, diced
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the beans in water overnight.

Heat oil in a 5 quart dutch oven. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces on both sides. Add the seasoned chicken to the dutch oven with hot oil. Cook on the first side for 8 minutes, or until the chicken is ready to turn. If the meat is sticking to the pan, let it continue to cook on the first side. Turn and cook for 6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dutch oven to a plate. Add bay leaves and garlic and let them cook for 20- 30 seconds. Then immediately add the drained beans. Stir in dill, oregano, salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup of the water. With a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits from the pan. Increase the heat, add the chicken and the other 3 1/2 cups of water. (The water should be half way to the chicken.) When liquid is boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

After the first hour, stir in the tomato paste and diced tomatoes and continue to cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Then remove the chicken and continue cooking the beans, uncovered, 20 more minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Serve warm with chicken and crust bread.

Yields 4 servings

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