Posted by: gdevi | July 6, 2012

Spanakopita with Swiss Chard

I have so much swiss chard in my garden this year that I made some swiss chard spanakopita today. I also made a meat borek or meat pie for the carnivores. They both turned out very good. Here are the recipes.

First, the meat borek.

Ingredients

Phyllo pastry sheets – 1 box ( When you buy these from the grocery store, they are frozen. Thaw them for 15-24 hours in the refrigerator, not the freezer, and never at room temperature; they absorb moisture if you do and will not bake properly. Thaw them prior to making the pie.)

1 pound minced beef and lamb mix

4 eggs

1 slab of feta cheese

Herbs: I use everything I have in my garden (except basil), in particular, thyme, marjoram, dill, mint, parsely, oregano — take about 1-2 tablespoons of each, washed and chopped

2 bunches of green onions

1 brown onion

2 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce

1 Tblsp minced garlic

Olive oil for sauteing and brushing the phyllo sheets

Black pepper to taste

Paprika to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Chop the green onions and brown onion into small pieces and sautee in a saucepan on medium heat with the minced garlic in some olive oil until you can smell them frying.  Add the minced lamb and beef, mix well, and cook the meat until well done. Add the worcestershire sauce,  paprika and all the herbs into the meat-onion-garlic mix and mix everything well and remove from heat. Allow the mix to cool to room temperature.

Break open the 4 eggs into a mixing bowl and beat well until the yolks and the whites are well blended. Break the feta cheese into the eggs with your fingers, shredding the cheese into small pieces. Mix the egg and feta cheese mix gently with a spoon .

Add the egg-feta mix into the cooled down meat mix and mix everything gently and well. Keep aside.

Working with the Phyllo pastry

Take the thawed Phyllo pastry from the refrigerator, and unroll the pastry sheets onto a baking sheet or some clean surface. Keep a damp clean towel handy to cover the sheets; phyllo will dry and crumble very quickly if you do not keep the sheets covered.

Take a rectangular baking dish and brush some olive oil at the bottom of the dish. Take one phyllo sheet (cover the rest of the sheets immediately with the damp towel) and put it on the bottom of the dish. Brush olive oil onto the sheet gently; be generous so that the pastry will bake well. Take another phyllo sheet and repeat the same process. I like to use at least 8-10 sheets for the bottom of the pie. Each phyllo sheet must be generously brushed with olive oil. Some folks use melted butter, some use a combination of melted butter and olive oil, but I like to use just the olive oil.

When you have at least 8-10 phyllo sheets at the bottom of the dish, spoon the meat mixture evenly on top of the phyllo sheets. Press down gently with a spoon.

Take another phyllo sheet, put it over the meat mixture, and brush generously with olive oil. I would line the top of the pie with another 8-10 phyllo sheets.

If any of the phyllo sheets stick out of the pan or something, just fold them in and brush them generously with olive oil.

Take a knife and cut the pie into the number of pieces you want. It is much harder to cut the phyllo after it is baked; it will crumble. So cut the pie before you bake it.

Bake uncovered in a 350 oven for 50 minutes until the top of the pastry is golden brown and you can smell the pie. I don’t eat meat but K and D and our niece who is visiting us from England all agree that it is incredibly delicious. In fact, I only learned this today, apparently K had been thinking all this time that he was the great meat chef in our house since I am a vegetarian, but apparently with this meat pie it has become me!  I have the dubious honor of being the great vicarious meat chef! Thank you, my dears; remember what the great book said, all flesh is grass.

Swiss chard spanakopita

Ingredients

Phyllo sheets – 1 box thawed in the fridge for 15-24 hours

2 lbs swiss chard ( I used about 4 big bunches from my garden) cleaned, washed twice or thrice [a word about cleaning chard–when you buy chard or spinach from the grocery store you sometimes don’t realize how much work goes into washing and cleaning these fragile leaves; you have to wash them and clean them very very well so that there is no sand or soil sticking to them. It would be terrible to bite into something and taste sand or soil. It took me quite some time to clean and wash all this chard, but hey I listened to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong the whole time so it went by pleasantly! If I had more children I would have named them Ella and Louis! God-like singers and good linguists as well! ] , chopped into small pieces

4 eggs

1 slab feta cheese

3 bunches of green onions

1 brown onion

1 Tblsp minced garlic

1 big bunch of dill

Other herbs: Use everything from your garden except basil–basil clashes with the swiss chard — but use 2 Tblsp each of oregano, marjoram, thyme, parsely, mint etc)

Olive oil for sauteing and brushing

Black pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Chop the green onions and brown onion into small pieces and sautee in a saucepan on medium heat with the minced garlic in some olive oil until you can smell them frying.  Add the chopped swiss chard, mix well, and cook until the chard is cooked and there is no water in the pan. Add paprika and all the herbs into chard mix and mix everything well and remove from heat. Allow the mix to cool to room temperature.

Break open the 4 eggs into a mixing bowl and beat well until the yolks and the whites are well blended. Break the feta cheese into the eggs with your fingers, shredding the cheese into small pieces. Mix the egg and feta cheese mix gently .

Add the egg-feta mix into the cooled down chard mix and mix everything gently and well. Keep aside.

Working with the Phyllo pastry

Take the thawed Phyllo pastry from the refrigerator, and unroll the pastry sheets onto a baking sheet or some clean surface. Keep a damp clean towel handy to cover the sheets; phyllo will dry and crumble very quickly if you do not keep the sheets covered.

Take a rectangular baking dish and brush some olive oil at the bottom of the dish. Take one phyllo sheet (cover the rest of the sheets immediately with the damp towel) and put it on the bottom of the dish. Brush olive oil onto the sheet gently; be generous so that the pastry will bake well. Take another phyllo sheet and repeat the same process. I like to use at least 8-10 sheets for the bottom of the pie. Each phyllo sheet must be generously brushed with olive oil. Some folks use melted butter, some use a combination of melted butter and olive oil, but I like to use just the olive oil.

When you have at least 8-10 phyllo sheets at the bottom of the dish, spoon the chard mixture evenly on top of the phyllo sheets. Press down gently with a spoon.

Take another phyllo sheet, put it over the chard mixture, and brush generously with olive oil. I would line the top of the pie with another 8-10 phyllo sheets.

If any of the phyllo sheets stick out of the pan or something, just fold them in and brush them generously with olive oil.

Take a knife and cut the pie into the number of pieces you want. It is much harder to cut the phyllo after it is baked; it will crumble. So cut the pie before you bake it.

Bake uncovered in a 350 oven for an hour until the top of the pastry is golden brown and you can smell the pie. I have to tell you that this pie tastes so good that I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The taste of feta is just unbelievable and all the herbs make it feel so light and just delicious. If I had more room in our house I would have kept some goats and made homemade feta. Try it, you will like it, I am sure.

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