Greek evergreen: a pita pie

10 Jul 2019

From my childhood in Greece to our home in Wales the 'pita' pie has remained a firm favourite in our house. Most widely known as 'spanakopita' (spinach pie) it actually comes in many guises depending on the greens used, which can be anything really, from spinach to cabbage and from beetroot tops to leeks, with herbs and foraged greens often used as well. Whatever you choose to put in, it's a great way to use up a (very) big pile of greens, it's easy to make and it's even better for lunch the next day.

My own 'mix & match' type recipe is below; if you prefer a proper traditional version, check this.

YOU NEED

> greens: a big pile of anything you like really - the more variety the tastier it will be! E.g. spinach, chard, kale, shredded cabbage, beetroot tops, grated beets or carrots, leeks, fennel, celery, wild greens...

> fresh herbs - anything you like, parsley, dill & mint work particularly well - dried herbs are ok too.

> a bunch of spring onions or a finely chopped onion

> garlic (I use one clove per person)

> eggs (at least 2 - I use 4, or 6 for when I have an extra big load of greens)

> feta cheese

> olive oil, salt, pepper

> pastry sheets - filo pastry is very 'Greek' but you can use puff pastry sheets too.

> a deep-ish baking tray

 

HOW TO

> Wash the greens & herbs and let drip dry as much as possible

> Finely chop the onions, garlic and any fleshy veg (e.g. celery or fennel), then sauté with a good amount of olive oil until softened

> Add the greens and any herbs (and more olive oil if necessary) and continue sautéing until they wilt a bit

> Season with salt & pepper

> If a lot of liquid is released pour it off and use elsewhere (it's delicious, don't throw it away!) - this is just a precaution to avoid an overly soggy pie (I admit I often don't bother)

> Crumble the feta cheese into a bowl and beat in the eggs

 

> Preheat the oven to 200C

> Brush a baking tray with olive oil and line the bottom with the pastry sheets so that there is some overhand on the sides

> Mix the greens & the feta/egg mix together and immediately pour into the tray.

> Lay another pastry sheet on top, fold in the edges and crimp them up a bit to seal

> Brush the top with olive oil

> Note: if using filo pastry brush some olive oil between the layers - use half of the sheets for the bottom the other half on top

> Place the pita in the oven and bake for 30-40 mins until the top is deep golden brown

> Allow to cool and set for 30 mins before cutting into squares to serve, perhaps with a tomato salad

Enjoy!

 

For a vegan version:

> Substitute feta cheese with a vegan version (or something sharp and salty like capers or olives)

> Substitute eggs with gram (chickpea) flour: mix up half a cup of flour with a cup of water, and fold into the veggie mix before pouring into the tray. It will set beautifully during baking (Note: gram flour is gluten free).

 

PS. Although the pastry may soften a bit I find it tastes even better eaten cold the next day - perfect for lunch!

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