Thoroughly a legume lover, cooking magical, fairytale-worthy gigante beans was a greatly anticipated occasion. I’ve cooked so many types of beans over the years—from navy to cranberry to yellow-eyed to black-eyed—and figured I was as ready as I’d ever be. Soaking them in advance encourages them to cook evenly, so don’t skip that step. One of the simplest ways to serve these, and one of my favorites, is spooning the beans and their liquor onto thick sourdough toast, adorning with roasted red pepper ribbons, and sprinkling with flaky salt. These beans are so creamy, so meaty, so good. And entirely vegan. —Melina Hammer
- Prep time 10 hours
- Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
- Serves 6
dried gigante or royal corona beans
extra-virgin olive oil, divided
garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
red pepper flakes
dried bay leaves
- Pick through the beans for any debris. In a large bowl or stockpot, add the beans plus enough water to cover by 5 inches. Soak the beans for 8 hours.
- Once they’re done soaking, strain the beans into a colander.
- In a deep saucepan over medium-low heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and lightly golden, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Add the beans, followed by the stock, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and remaining 3 tablespoons of oil.
- Bring the bean mixture to a boil, cover the pot with its lid, and lower to a simmer. Simmer for about 2 hours, until the beans are fat and tender. Add the salt and stir to incorporate. Turn off the heat and replace the lid, and set aside for 1 to 2 hours for the bean liquor to thicken.
- Refrigerate any leftover beans, sealed in a container. To reheat, warm beans in a saucepan, stirring occasionally over medium heat. To avoid them sticking to the bottom of the pot, add just enough water so that the mixture is ever-so-slightly liquidy as they heat.