Inspired by gigantes, a traditional Greek dish, this vegetarian starter or entree stars giant lima beans.
Make sure to soak the beans overnight, then begin the dish in the morning. Add the salt after the beans have cooked to avoid making them tough.
You'll need a 5- or 6-quart slow-cooker for this recipe.
Make Ahead: The beans need to be soaked overnight.
Yield: Makes 12 cups
- For the beans
- 1 pound dried large lima beans, covered by a few inches of water, soaked overnight
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups finely chopped green bell pepper (about 1 large, seeds and membranes discarded)
- 1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion (from 1 large)
- 1 cup finely chopped carrots (from 2 or 3)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery (from 2 or 3 ribs)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 28 ounces plain tomato puree
- 2 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 6 grind black pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- For the sauce
- 1 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat Greek-style yogurt
- 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
- 2 to 3 grind black pepper
Drain the beans, discarding the liquid. Transfer them to the slow cooker.
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the bell pepper, onion, carrots, celery and garlic; stir to coat, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion and celery are just softened.
Whisk in the tomato puree, broth, tomato paste, honey, dried dill, oregano and black pepper. Increase the heat to high; cook, whisking, for about 5 minutes. Pour this mixture over the beans in the slow-cooker, making sure all the beans are submerged. Cover and cook on LOW until the beans are tender, about 9 hours.
Season with the fresh dill and salt.
While the beans are cooking, make the sauce: Whisk together the yogurt, dill, honey, salt and pepper (to taste) in a medium bowl.
Divide the beans among individual plates. Top each portion with a dollop of the yogurt sauce. Serve warm.
Adapted from "Year-Round Slow Cooker: 100 Favorite Recipes for Every Season," by Dina Cheney (Taunton Press, 2013).
Tested by Jim Webster.
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