During the cooler winter months, the greens and citrus rule the local markets! Of the greens, the one veggie I find absolutely irresistible is English spinach...especially when the leaves are big, shiny and that special shade of vibrant green!
English spinach in particular is a hugely versatile vegetable as it can be eaten raw in salads and sandwiches, made into wonderful soups, or cooked with a little oil and garlic to make them sing in omelettes, pasta, rice dishes and a variety of other vegetable sides. Packed with fibre, they are also low in calories and dense in a selection of minerals and vitamins.
My favourite way of cooking them however has to be in a spanakopita, or spinach pie. Combined with a selection of fresh herbs, shallots, garlic and feta, the spanakopita becomes a meal that makes the taste buds sing!
Although it is wonderful with homemade pastry, using a quality ready made shortcrust pastry is a way to speed things up and, oh my, it's still so crazy good! Serve it as an entree or in larger pieces as a vegetarian main, I'm sure this is a recipe you will return to time and time again!
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
1 packet sour cream shortcrust pastry sheet, defrosted
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large bunch English spinach, roughly chopped
½ cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
½ cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
100g marinated goat’s cheese or feta, crumbled
¼ cup mozzarella (or other baking cheese), grated
Salt, pepper to taste
1 egg, whisked well to use as eggwash
PREHEAT the oven to 170C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
CUT the pastry in half lengthwise and pop back in the fridge using the plastic film to ensure the pastry doesn’t stick together.
HEAT the oil in a medium size frypan over a medium heat and add the shallots.
Saute for about 3 minutes before adding the garlic. Saute for another minute or
so until lovely and fragrant.
ADD the spinach and stir until all the juices is released and evaporates. Add the
herbs and season to taste. Once the herbs have started wilting, turn off the heat
and add the crumbled goat’s cheese/ feta. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
ONCE the mixture has cooled, place one half of the pastry on the lined tray. Place the mixture in the centre of the pastry, leaving about a 2cm border around the edge. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top.
FOLD the other half of pastry in half again and cut 5 slits along the fold line to
make the steam vents for the pie.
BRUSH the border on the first half of the tray with eggwash and then place the
other half with the slits on top. Press the edges of the pie together and then
slightly roll them in. Make a little crimp on the edges by using the pointer and
middle fingers of one hand and placing the pointer finger of your other hand in
BRUSH the whole top with the eggwash and place in the oven to bake for 45
minutes or until crispy and a golden brown colour. Allow to cool a little before
slicing and serving.
WORDS, STYLING AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Helen Vlahakis - TLSE Food Contributor and Founder of Mumma's Country Kitchen
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