Giant Beans with Roasted Peppers and Pastourma
Kastoria, which falls in the heart of the lake region, is bean country for the Greeks. In fact, many of Greece's appellation of origin beans are grown here.
- 250 gr. (1/2 lb.) giant beans
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs. and Β½ cup extra-virgin northern Greek olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- 4 large roasted red Florina peppers, preserved in oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 4-6 slices pastourma
- 2-3 Tbs. northern Greek balsamic vinegar
Soak the beans according to the instructions on the packet, or in a good amount of water for 6 to 8 hours. Strain them and boil them on high heat in enough fresh water so that it reaches about 7 cm (3 inches) above the beans. Lower the heat and simmer for an hour until soft. About 15 minutes before removing from heat add salt. Strain the beans and keep their water. Set both aside. While the beans are boiling, heat three tablespoons olive oil in a large pan and sautΓ© the onion and garlic over medium heat until they turn golden. Remove the peppers from the oil and finely chop. Add them to the onion-garlic mixture and stir over medium heat for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Preheat the oven to 180Β° C/350Β° F. Place the beans and the onion-pepper mixture in an oven-proof dish. Add two-thirds cup of the liquid in which the beans boiled, two tablespoons olive oil and a little of the oil in which the roasted peppers were preserved. The dish should be oily. Add salt and pepper and the bay leaves. Cover the oven-proof dish and bake the dish for an hour, until the beans are soft. In the meantime, prepare the pastourma. Clean its surface of the spice covering and cut each piece into thin strips. About 20 minutes before the beans are ready, add the pastourma. Five minutes before they are done add the vinegar and any extra salt. Remove dish from oven, drizzle with any remaining oil and serve. They can be served at room temperature also or the next day. The velvety texture of this dish couples well with a lively red wine from Kastoria.