Spanakopita. (Photo by Thanasis Kalliaras /EUROKINISSI, file)
While the winter may seem like a tough time for seasonal fruits and vegetables, there are still leafy greens available to enjoy in a variety of dishes. Try the following recipe for hortopita that features leafy greens in a flavorful, savory pie.
Hortopita (Greens Pie)
4 tablespoons Greek extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional as needed
1 bunch Swiss chard or kale or collard greens or a mixture of greens, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium leek, washed thoroughly, and finely chopped
1 small fennel bulb with stalks and fronds, finely chopped
1 cup feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
4-5 scallions, thinly sliced
Greek sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the Swiss chard or kale, and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Transfer the cooked chard to a large strainer and press with a wooden spoon to remove any excess water. Then set aside. Heat the skillet to medium-high and add the remaining olive oil. Add the onion, leek, and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Transfer the onion mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the cooked chard, feta, mint, dill, parsley, and scallions and stir together. Season the filling with salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool. Once the filling has cooled, add the beaten eggs and stir together.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with olive oil. Place a sheet of phyllo in the pan so that the edges of it drape evenly. Gently brush the phyllo with butter. Repeat with seven more sheets of phyllo, stacking them one on top of the other. Add the filling, spreading it evenly with a spatula or spoon. Top with the remaining phyllo sheets, buttering each one as you stack them. Fold the edges of the phyllo under so that the dough extends about an inch beyond the rim of the pan, and then tuck the dough slightly into the pan to form the edge. Brush the top with butter. Using a sharp knife, score the top of the pie to delineate the pieces into squares and then triangles, and to allow the steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 50 minutes to one hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional as needed and for rolling out
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt
6 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
Sesame seeds (optional)
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the water one tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition, then add the olive oil and knead until the dough is elastic and smooth. You may need to add a little flour if the dough is too wet. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Prepare the filling as above.
Divide the rested dough into four. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the four pieces of dough to a thin rectangle, long enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Brush the baking pan lightly with olive oil and transfer the rolled out dough to the pan. Roll out a second piece of dough and add to the baking pan for the second layer. Brush lightly with olive oil and add the filling, spreading it evenly with a spatula or spoon. Roll out the third piece of dough to cover the filling, brush lightly with olive oil and cover with the fourth piece of rolled out dough. Brush the top with a little olive oil and tuck the edges underneath or crimp for a decorative edge. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds, if using. Score the top of the spanakopita with a sharp knife to release the steam and delineate the pieces. If preferred, use a fork to prick holes in the top. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until golden brown. Serve warm.
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