Long before Michael Costa became head chef at Zaytinya in Washington, D.C., he was a fan, and one of his usuals, please, was piyaz, a stew of beans, kale and tomatoes. “There’s something very comforting about it,” he says. That something is the star of the dish: gigantes.

These are huge white beans, creamy and satisfying – but only if you cook them right. “It has to be really gently and slowly,” he says.

If you can’t find gigantes (look at Mediterranean markets or online), use the largest lima beans you can find.

Greek Giant Bean Stew With Lemon-Honey Sauce

Makes 8 servings

Combine 1 pound dried Greek gigantes (giant beans) with water to cover by 2 inches, and soak overnight.

Drain. Transfer the beans to a large, heavy pot with enough water to cover by 1 inch, and set over medium-high heat. Cut 2 celery ribs and 1 peeled onion into large chunks and add them to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the mixture barely bubbles around the edges. Cover and cook until the beans are tender, 1 to 2 hours or longer. Fish out and discard the celery and onion. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or to taste. Turn off the heat.

While the beans are cooking, bring a medium pot of water to a boil and preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Remove the stems from 1 pint of cherry tomatoes. Use a sharp paring knife to score an X in the skin of each tomato. Boil them for about 10 seconds, then scoop out. Let them cool, then slip off and discard the skins. Cut the tomatoes in half and transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet.

Thinly slice 1 garlic clove and add it to the tomatoes on the sheet, along with 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Toss to combine. Roast until the tomatoes shrivel and start to collapse, 15 to 20 minutes, then remove them from the oven and sprinkle with salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon honey and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice. Drizzle in 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil while whisking to make a creamy emulsion.

Pour 1 tablespoon canola oil into a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Thinly slice 2 garlic cloves and 1 small red onion and add to the pot. Saute until the onion and garlic are slightly caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the leaves of 8 ounces kale and cook until barely wilted. Add the beans and enough of their cooking liquid to make a loose stew, and cook until the kale is tender, 5 minutes. Taste, and add salt as needed.

Chop 1 bunch fresh dill and stir half of it into the stew, with the tomatoes.

Ladle the stew into shallow bowls and spoon the honey-lemon sauce generously onto each portion. Sprinkle with the remaining dill. Serve warm.

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