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Frankenbeanies: Gigantes, take II

Giant favas or gigantes are really as big as they look

Giant favas or gigantes really are as big as they look.

No kidding. That’s a soup spoon on the right, up there in the photo. These giant fava beans are huge–which is part of the fun of cooking them.

Because I had so much trouble getting the nice-looking pre-peeled dried giant favas to cook last week (and the time before), I went and got the bulk giant favas with the brownish-greenish-pinkish peels left on this time. And I was right. Buying the ones with the peels still on means that the dried beans stay relatively fresh and cook up a lot better–and faster–than the pre-peeled ones.

To peel them, dump the washed and sorted beans into a big bowl of very hot-to-boiling water and let them sit about an hour. The peels will start to wrinkle around the edges and turn leathery-soft. A sharp little paring knife makes it easy to crack into them and pop them off. Then soak them overnight in cold water. (Or soak the beans first and then take the peels off. Whatever’s easier.)

These beans were clearly fresher than the pre-peeled ones–in the morning, the bean water smelled almost like fresh apple juice. Bizarre. Anyway.

Rinse and cover with fresh cold water. And then you can actually microwave them 10 minutes (for a pound of peeled gigantes in a bowl with water to cover by about an inch and a lid on top) and let sit half an hour and they’ll be about halfway there, then nuke again for 5-7 minutes once or maybe twice, with 20 minutes in between. Or you could simmer them on the stove about an hour.

Or of course you could buy them in cans, but where’s the fun in that?

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