Most of today I spent wondering what to do for dinner. I made a Thai red curry last Friday and there was one small portion left. I hadn't taken out anything from the freezer this morning either. On top of that we've run out of bread, so beans on toast were not an option either.
For a short while I toyed with the idea of butter bean salad, but it would still need a night for all flavours to release. So walking into the larder, I spotted some cans of fancy beans I'd bought some time ago and I clicked - beans plakia.
The "plakia" (BG: плакия) I rather suspect originates from the Greek plaki, which means baked in an oven, according to Wikipedia and Rick Stein. In Bulgaria, this means baked in an oven with tomatoes and lemon.
Needless to say, I didn't have lemon in the house, but had some of the lovely pepper-chili paste still from the imam bayildi I made a couple of weeks ago. Also since I had canned beans, I didn't need the cooking phase where celeriac, parsley root and a bay leaf provide interesting flavours. So all in all it was something fairly different from the beans plakia that I ended up with, but it was very tasty indeed. Would work fine as a main meal for a vegetarian or as a side dish with something grilled I think. Lundulph says that chicken might get lost in it. I think it might just about work though.
3 x 410 g cans of beans (Borlotti, Pinto and Black-eye)
2 medium sized carrots
0.5 dl grapeseed oil
2 cans of plum tomatoes
1 dl Turkish red pepper paste
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt, black pepper
- Drain and rinse the beans. Lay out in a deep baking tin. Preheat the oven at gas mark 6 (220 degrees C).
- Peel and slice the carrots and lay on top of the beans.
- Drain the tomatoes into a jug, add the red pepper paste, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the juice and stir in well.
- Slice the tomatoes and lay on top of the beans and carrots.
- Drizzle the oil over the dish, then cover with the tomato sauce. Give it a shake, so everything is covered with the tomato sauce.
- Bake for 45 minutes in the middle of the oven.
- Peel and press the garlic in a small bowl. Pour vinegar on top and leave to stand while the beans are cooking.
The garlic condiment is optional, but is recommended with lots of Bulgarian dishes, mostly soups. I used to like to dip bread in it when I was little, but then I do really love garlic. It's quite stong flavoured and smells even stronger, store wrapped in at least two plastic bags!