Greek Pork and Beans
We had quite the cold spell a while back, so I during it I felt the need to make a one-pot, stick-to-your-ribs kind of stew. And what better cuisine from which to choose than Greek. It’s often the direction I take for satisfying and comforting dishes, like pastitsio and moussaka.
For these times, I refer to an old cookbook, called Flavors of Greece, published in 1991, and authored by Rosemary Barron. And in it I found exactly what I was looking for – a Greek version of pork and beans.
The beans in this dish are giant white Lima beans, and the meat includes pork shoulder, bacon, and sausage.
The bean and pork components are layered, then topped with a thick bread crumb and Parmesan crust. Oddly enough, it reminds me of a giant cassoulet!
Traditional Pork and Bean Casserole
1 1/2 pounds dried butter beans, soaked overnight
3 pounds boneless lean pork shoulder
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup diced pastourma´s ham or bacon
3 cups chopped onion
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup red wine
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, diced, juices reserved
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup dried oregano
2 tablespoons ground coriander
5 whole cloves
4 juniper berries, lightly crushed
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 – 1 1/2 cups meat stock
1/2 country sausages
1 cup fresh whole-wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup kasse´ri cheese or Parmesan
Cook and drain the soaked beans. I cooked mine in chicken stock. Set aside.
Cut the pork into 1” cubes. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet and lightly brown half the meat over medium heat. Repeat with the remaining meat.
Add the bacon and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Add the garlic, cook 1 minute longer, and add the red wine. Bring to a boil and boil a minute or two, then stir in the tomatoes with their juices, honey, oregano, coriander, cloves, juniper berries, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Add 1 cup of the stock and simmer 5 minutes longer.
Add the meat, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer 30 minutes longer; add stock if there appears to be less than 2 cups of sauce. Season to taste. The sauce should be highly flavored.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Slice the sausages into 1/2” thick slices and combine with the beans.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons olive oil over the bottom of a heavy casserole and cover with one third of the sausages and beans. Cover with a layer of half the meat mixture, then half the remaining beans, then the remaining meat. Top with a layer of the remaining beans.
With the back of a wooden spoon, gently press down on the beans so some of the sauce rises to the surface.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs and cheese on top.
Sprinkle with the remaining olive oil, cover, and bake 45 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F and bake 1 1/2 hours longer, until a golden crust has formed.
Remove the casserole lid and bake 10 minutes, or until the crust is deep golden brown.
I let the casserole sit for at least 45 minutes, without the lid, before serving.
Even though I used a large/wide Le Creuset for this casserole, it was so thick I wasn’t sure how to serve it up!
For the sake of this post, I cut out a square so the layers would show.
The casserole is quite stunning. And the flavors are just what you’d expect. Tomatoes, herbs, meat – a lovely, rustic meal.
And the meat is extremely tender.
Note: The recipe also included dried marjoram and winter savory — neither of which I had.
Beautiful! My hubby is a pork lover – he would adore this!
Oh, he would! It’s delightful!
This looks soo good!!
Thanks – it was very yummy and satisfying!
Wow, it’s like a super deep-dish meat-lover’s dream! I love butter beans too. Great recipe, Mimi!
Thanks! Yeah, definitely meaty! Not my typical meal, but it was delicious!
This looks and sounds wonderful. I love Greek food.
It is wonderful isn’t it. Can be quite heavy, though.
What a great find! This looks delicious. Perfect for a cold day. :)
Definitely. Very heavy, though, but mostly my husband ate it!
First of all I would love your book, then I would like a slice of casserole. It looks so luscious and it would probably feed this couple for a week!! By the end of the week it would have turned into a couple of other dishes as well, who knows. I will wait for Winter to try this – too hot at present. I’m glad this lovely book caught your eye on a cold day!!
Thank you so much. Definitely too much for a summer’s eve!
I have never heard of this – how cool! Funny thing is that I’ve been looking for a different recipe to use a 2.75 pound pork shoulder I have in the freezer!
Huh! That’ll do it!
I’ve never seen a dish like this before, so it’s right up my alley! Looks incredible and the presentation is perfect!
Thank you! It’s quite hearty, but very good.
Oh my, this one will be very popular here! Pork, bacon, juniper berries and sausage, all mainstay foods in Sweden. This look fantastic and I can’t wait until we next have friends over so I can spring this one on them. Great post.
Interesting! I didn’t know that. It’s a very hearty dish, for sure, but very flavorful.
This sounds incredible, Mimi! I love a good cassoulet, and this just sounds like a Greek twist…and I’m all about it. This is the kind of food that’s perfect for a chilly winter weekend!
It’s very hearty. Mostly my husband ate it, and I had to freeze some! Fabulous flavors, though!
What an interesting dish! I’ve never had anything quite like it. Looks incredibly flavorful. Fun stuff — thanks.
It’s serious comfort food, especially if you love meat! Very tasty, also.
What an amazing looking dish! What’s NOT in there? It looks so amazing. Man, I could go for a bowl right now. I agree with you in that this looks like the perfect dish for a cold winter’s night.
I know. Hearty, heavy, and really tasty. I don’t think I’ve ever used that much dried oregano in anything!
Great with three types of pork. I think you handled the presentation very well.
Did you take the pork shoulder out after browning? It is not clear but seems to make since given the long time in the oven.
Yes, browned the pork and that’s it. I hadn’t noticed that the recipe included browning the sausage as well, which I didn’t do. Maybe that step would have rendered some fat, but there was nothing greasy about the casserole.
Now that is a casserole! I love those beans too. Perfect cold weather comfort food. :)
It certainly is. On the heavy side for me (I still eat salads throughout the winter months) but it was really good.
We eat salad every night with our comfort food! :)
Not your father’s pork and beans! Unique and delicious!
Well now, this is definitely stick to your ribs food. Perfect for winter!
I’ve been traveling. So I came here to catch up on your last three posts. Which make me feel as if my journey continues. First a romantic dinner in your own home, then a trip to Chinatown, and now Greece. Thanks for all the stamps to my passport! GREG
aw, thanks Greg!
Very interesting, it almost looks like a pâté. It’s a meat eaters paradise!
Or a really coarse terrine! It’s really good.
How have I not heard of this before? I agree with the others, reminds me of a cassoulet somewhat. In fact, now I’m wondering what other accessory meats or sausages might make it in there as the need arises. I’m guessing it’s the crust that really makes it too. Thanks for sharing this, Mimi. I’m looking forward to it.
Great! And you’re welcome! It’s definitely meaty, but I think it’s perfect for pork. Certainly chicken, or duck confit, or a mixture of not-too-greasy sausages would work, too. The tomato-based sauce is excellent and flavorful.
This sounds like a super delicious casserole. So creative and much needed in this cold weather.
That certainly does look hearty!
Almost too hearty for me, but really flavorful!
So many wonderful flavours here and a very impressive dish….perfect for special occasions Mimi!
Thank you so much Marisa!