My Dad's Great Greek Baked Beans
My Dad was the king of making these beans. They take a bit of time to cook but they are sooo worth it! These baked beans are delicious warm, at room temperature, as an accompaniment or as part of an appetizer platter.
2 cups dried lima beans or white kidney beans (500 ml)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (30 ml)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise
3 stalks celery, diced
4 carrots, diced
Several sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Big pinch dried oregano (preferably Greek)
1/2 small dried chile pepper, crushed
1 jar of Christine Cushing’s tomato sauce or 1 can diced tomatoes with juice (28 oz.)
1 cup water (250 ml)
2 tbsp. honey (30 ml)
Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Soak beans in enough water to cover for 4 hours. Drain beans and transfer to a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until beans are just tender. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Saute onion and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden. Stir in celery, carrots, thyme, bay leaves, oregano, chile, tomatoes, water, honey, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, or until sauce has thickened slightly and vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 °.
Combine sauce and beans in a medium baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until mixture is thick and bubbly. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves before serving.