Saturday, 17 July 2010

Insert Greek pun here

Jar of rigani (Greek oregano)
In times of uncertainty, cook what you know - and in large quantities. Here (finally?) is a savoury recipe, originally from the Guardian, but tweaked a little to make it more like the dish I remember.

(The pictured jar contains rigani - Greek oregano. There are several different varieties of oregano out there, but most of the dried stuff you can buy in the UK is authentically - interchangeably - Greek or Italian. Honest.)

Fasolia gigantes

250g butter beans (big ones, ideally) - or 2 tins
Olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
2 tins of tomatoes
1 or 2 clove(s) garlic, crushed
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper

Soak the beans in a large pot of cold water overnight. Next day, drain the beans. Bring a big pot of water to the boil, add the drained beans and boil for 30-40 minutes, until they are well cooked but not mushy. Drain. (Or you can use tinned beans - I usually do.)

Preheat the oven to 170C (GM 3).
Heat some oil in a casserole. Add the onion, carrot and celery and fry gently until softened. Add the garlic, oregano, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Mix in the beans, drizzle with oil (this is an important step - don't skip it), and bake for 30-40 minutes.

These are apparently good with sausages or lamb - alongside something barbecued works particularly well. I serve them with a green salad dressed with oil, lemon juice, and a little salt (or, in the winter, horta, dressed in the same way); tzatziki (crush a clove of garlic and mix with a little oil; beat in some yoghurt; stir in some grated, kitchen-towel-dried cucumber and chopped dill/mint); tyrokafteri (mix a crushed clove of garlic and some chopped fresh/dried chilli with some oil; mash in a pack of feta and a chopped, skinned, grilled pepper); and pitta bread. It's easy to stretch further, too, with olives and dolmades alongside, and perhaps also spanakopita, or something like - see what strikes your fancy.