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Vegans who have eaten my food know that my braised giant beans are worthy of even the pickiest of eaters. The key to this dish is the cooking time and addition of spinach at the end, making it both extremely healthy and incredibly tasty.
1 pound dried giant beans (gigantes)
2 medium red onions, finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
2 medium carrots, sliced into rounds
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley, stemmed and finely chopped
1 bunch fresh dill, stemmed and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups tomato puree
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
- The night before you plan to serve this dish, place the beans in a large bowl with water to cover by 2 or 3 inches. Set aside to soak overnight. (Soaking the beans overnight reduces the cooking time.)
- The following day, drain the beans, discard the soaking liquid, and place them in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover the beans by 3 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Drain the beans into a large colander.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Preheat a large saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the onions and sauté until golden and softened, about 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cooked beans and olive oil and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, parsley, dill, garlic, tomato puree, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat.
- Transfer the mixture to a medium baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the beans are tender.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir in the spinach. Set the dish aside for about 5 minutes before serving, to allow the flavors to blend.