Masterchef judge George Calombaris credits his mum for giving him his discerning palate and an understanding of the soul of food, including giant beans, which he shares in his new book of Greek home cooking.


  • 250g gigantes beans, soaked overnight
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ brown onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • ½ cup carrots, finely chopped
  • ½ cup celery, finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ tablespoon thyme, finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon tomato paste
  • 75ml sherry vinegar
  • 500g chopped tomato
  • 250ml water
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¼ bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped


Gigantes are traditional Greek butter beans that come from Kastoria and they can be black or white in colour. Drain soaked beans and place in a large pot, cover well with water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender. Strain and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pot and cook onion for 3 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, celery, oregano, thyme and tomato paste. Stir over a low heat for 3 minutes. Add sherry vinegar. Add tomatoes and water and bring to the boil. Stir in beans.

Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour at 180°C. Season well with salt. Finish with parsley and extra olive oil.