Fassolia me Hirino ke Portokali

Baked White Beans with Pork and Orange

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    4 to 6

    servings as a main course

Appears in

BEANS boiled until tender and then baked in the oven in a rich tomato sauce are a traditional dish of northern Greece. The orange peel and juice make this version special, adding a fresh fruity taste and aroma to the hearty beans. Oranges and tangerines of exceptional quality are grown on Chios and inspired local chef Stefanos Kovas to create the dish. He serves it at Loukoumi, his lively ouzo bar in the heart of Chios Town.

You can serve it as a main course, a meze or a side dish with meat or poultry.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried Greek gigantes (giant beans), white kidney or cannellini beans, soaked overnight in water and drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¾ pound boneless pork shoulder
  • Peel of 1 orange
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • 1 cup sweet red wine, such as Mavrodaphne or sweet Marsala
  • cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • cup grated ripe tomatoes (see Note) or canned diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 celery rib, preferably wild, finely chopped
  • 1–2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or ½–1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method

Place the beans and 1 of the bay leaves in a Dutch oven, add water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the beans are soft but not mushy. Drain the beans, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, place the pork and the remaining bay leaf in another large pot, add water to cover and bring to a boil. Skim the foam that rises to the surface, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.

Drain the pork, reserving the broth. Strain the broth through a sieve. You should have about ½ cup; if necessary, boil over high heat to reduce. Cut the pork into ½-inch cubes and set aside.

Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the orange peel for 1 minute. Drain and repeat two more times. Drain the peel on paper towels, then cut it into thin strips.

In the Dutch oven, heat the oil and sauté the onions over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the pork and sauté for 3 minutes more. Add the beans and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the wine, orange juice, reserved pork broth, tomatoes, orange peel, celery, Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes, mustard and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. If more liquid is needed, add some of the reserved bean liquid.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Taste the bean mixture and adjust the seasonings, adding black pepper to taste. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the beans are very tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve hot or warm, garnished with the parsley.

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