By Jessie Lehail,
Special to The Post
My love for Greek food spiced with Indian flavours is very strong. I merge these two cuisines often, and this palak-esque hand held pie is my interpretation of traditional Greek food lightened up with modern flavours like Indian spices.
This hand-held pie makes great use of spinach and beet greens. Working with phyllo is worth the effort. It creates a perfectly browned and crisp pastry crust after baking for mere minutes.
• 8 cups fresh spinach or 2 pounds frozen spinach
• 3 cups fresh beet greens
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 1 1/2 large onions, chopped
• 8 to 10 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup spring onions, chopped
• ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
• ½ cup chopped fresh dill
• 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
• 2 teaspoons garam masala
• ½ teaspoon ground fennel seed
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 2 teaspoons black pepper
• 8 ounces cottage cheese
• 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled into small pieces
• 1 cup Parmesan, grated
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 to 2 packages of Phyllo pastry (thawed)
• Olive oil to brush on the dough
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large pot, sauté the onion in olive oil for about five minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté for another two minutes and then add the spring onions and cook for three more minutes. Next, add the spinach, beet greens, dill, and cilantro, followed by cumin, garam masala, black pepper, and chili flakes. Remove from heat and cool.
Mix the spinach mixture with the cheeses and the beaten eggs and set aside. Unwrap the phyllo sheets gently and lay them on a flat surface. Separate two sheets from the pile and cover the rest with a damp, clean kitchen towel. Cut the pastry sheets into two. Using a pastry brush, brush the sheet lightly with olive oil and fold in half lengthwise. Put a large spoonful of the spinach mixture on the end of the rectangle closest to you. Fold the edges into the centre. Now fold into a rectangle and repeat until you are at the end of your filled rectangle. Brush lightly with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Repeat this process until the baking sheet is filled. Bake for about 25 minutes until the tops are puffed and lightly browned.
Jessie Lehail is the author of Indian Influence, a food blog that takes global eats and reinterprets them with a South Asian influence. Visit her blog at www.indianinfluence.ca