All the recipes below are for a family of four, although with some, you may have some leftovers, depending on appetites.
Spinach and Feta Pie
At a time when boys of fifteen or so would not be caught anywhere near a kitchen to help in food preparation, the mother of my son’s friend would line up the teenagers to make Spinach and Feta pie. She would have one brushing the layers of phyllo with butter, another chopping and draining spinach while another fried the onions… amidst much laughter and chatting with a background of the youngsters songs playing loudly.
My son came home and explained how it was done and with a bit of tweaking we managed to make a pie that has become a family favorite, based on Spanokopita – the Greek spinach and feta pie.
1 packet filo pastry
100g (100ml) melted butter
45ml olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2ml ground cumin
3 bunches of fresh spinach
200g grated mature cheddar or crumbled feta cheese
45ml grated Parmesan cheese
3 large eggs – lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional – 3 teaspoons of finely chopped fresh parsley
- Step 1 – Lightly oil base and sides of a medium to large sized baking dish with a little of the olive oil.
- Step 2 – Unroll pastry carefully and before covering with a clean damp tea-towel remove one layer of filo and place into baking dish, allowing sides of filo to overhang dish. Brush with butter. Add another layer and brush with butter – continue until you have five layers of filo.
- Step 3 – Make the filling by heating remainder of olive oil in a heavy frying pan before adding the onion, garlic and cumin and nutmeg. Fry stirring frequently for 5 minutes until onion mix is a light golden color, then remove from heat.
- Step 4 – Wash and chop the spinach after removing the heavy white center vein.
- Step 5 – Bring a little water in the base of a saucepan to the boil then add the spinach. Allow to cook for about five minutes until wilted but still a fresh green color.
- Step 6 – Drain spinach thoroughly making sure excess water is squeezed out, add spinach to the onion mix and fry lightly for one minute then set aside to cool a little.
- Step 7 – Mix the cheeses and the lightly beaten eggs into the spinach onion mix, adding salt, pepper and chopped parsley if desired
- Step 8 – Assemble the pie by pouring the filling into the prepared pastry base.
Lift the over hanging sides of pastry and bring them over the filling. Add another three layers of filo tucking them into the sides of the dish. Remember to brush with melted butter between each sheet. Score diamond shapes into top layer of pie with a sharp knife.
- Step 9: Place the dish into the preheated oven (19 0 C / 375F) and bake for 40 minutes or until a golden color. Serve after allowing to stand for 10 minutes.