Caldo Gallego With Gigantes. A Greek Legume For A Spanish Dish.

Gigantes is the name of these huge white Beans I got from my foodie friend Ivy from Kopiaste, straight from Athens! We made a package foodie exchange and will post about the rest of the wonderful Greek foods she sent me very soon!

Back to the 60s, when I was a kid, there was only one TV channel and it was in black and white, we didn't have playstations nor nintendo games... we had books, street games, nice and rounded dolls (not super skinny barbies) and small plastic cars; but most of all, we had imagination! A cardboard box could become a school bus or a dolls' house. And after reading Greek Mythology I would become Palas Atenea (Athena) the goddess of courage and wisdom! Back then, those were not adjectives for girls nor women... we were taught to be nice and submissive future wives, but I dreamt I was a smart and powerful goddess, standing on my room's chair I would point with my sword the dolls sitting on the floor that deserved a place beside Hades, the god for the Death. From here, my tribute to all Greeks :D.

To do this dish, I changed my sword for a chorizo and I used my imagination to make a Caldo Gallego from Galicia with Greek Gigantes and the ingredients I had in my pantry and fridge. The result was spectacular, the taste so rich and the texture of the beans perfect!!!

Thanks Ivy for sending me the Gigantes Plaki recipe, but I finally made up my mind and decided to do this broth that is closer to a stew than to a broth. Maybe you like the recipe and do it yourself :D. All my family was here for lunch and they all Loved Gigantes!!!!

Ingredients for 8 servings: 500 grs. of Gigantes (or normal sized white beans), 1 good ham fresh bone (with a bit of ham still adhered to the bone), 200 grs. smoked panceta (mine was cured), 1 chorizo colorado (I used 200 grs of cured and tender chorizo cular), 400 grs. potatoes, 500 grs. of tender green leaves of grelos (typical veggie from Galicia. I couldn't find and used half a small cabbage), olive oil and water.

* The previous day cover the beans with cold water, 2 or 3 times the beans height. I had them nearly 20 hours soaking because they were so big.
* Wash the ham bone under tap water and place in a big casserole, fill it with cold water and bring to boil, after 30 minutes discard the water. This is done to take the salt from the bone away, if your bone is an iberian acorn ham one, doesn't need to have a previous boil.
* Place the bone ham in the casserole again. Rinse the beans and put them in too. Cover with cold water 2 times the height of the beans, or if you want to have enough stock to make soups, then pour 3 to 4 times the height of the beans. Bring to a boil and then simmer at low heat for 10 minutes.
* Meanwhile cut the panceta and chorizo (take peel away) in dices. If you use a galician chorizo don't cut it and cook it with the peel. Chop the cabbage in big pieces and add to the casserole.
* Simmer the ingredients for 3 hours and a half, shaking the casserole now and then so that you don't break the beans.
* Meanwhile peel, wash and cut the potatoes in small pieces breaking them with your knife so that they leave the starch out. Add them to the casserole 30 minutes before the beans are done.
* It took me 4 hours to get them soft and tender, but depending on the kind you use it can take less. Keep on testing to see when they will be done.
* Taste and add some salt if you consider it necessary.

This dish will be much better the day after, so strain the beans and keep the stock in a different recipient, once cold, place in the fridge.My casserole wasn't too deep and I didn't get much stock, so we had it as a stew.

A proper Caldo Gallego would have some of the ingredients in the bottom of the bowl and everything would be covered with the stock and some drops of olive oil on top. Another tray would be presented with the rest of the beans, chorizo, panceta, potatoes and cabbage.

I'm submitting the picture hereunder to the Jugalbandi's Click Event for May... Beans 'n Lentils.