Greek Spinach Leek Pie
23 July 2010
My friend Lucy said to me ” being a vegetarian shouldn’t be a side dish”.
More often than not she is confronted with restaurants lacking luster and creativity when it comes to vegetarian food. Glorified side dishes of pasta, risotto, tossed greens or sauteed veggies is all they can muster. Which is disappointing really, as cooking for vegetarians shouldn’t be seen as a curse.
Despite being a carnivore, I am also a vegetarian at heart and dedicated to the pursuit of delicious vegetarian recipes. Here is my take on the Telegraph’s original Greek Spinach & Leek Pie. I removed the dill, forgot the Parmesan (it happens) and added nutmeg. This is a great dinner party recipe, just serve the pie hot, right out of the oven, when it is at it’s best and the filo pastry, crispy.
RECIPE : ERIKA ALLISTON – Greek Spinach Leek Pie
- 1 kg fresh spinach
- 800 grams leeks (finely chopped)
- 160 grams butter
- 2 garlic cloves
- 500g ricotta (drained)
- 4 large eggs
- 300 grams feta cheese
- 300 grams filo pastry
- grated nutmeg to taste
- Black pepper for seasoning
- Spring-form pan (26cm across)
- Spinach: wash, dry & destalk. Chop roughly. Boil 2 kettles of water, pour over spinach till covered, let sit until leaves are wilted. Drain well, squeeze out ALL water, set aside.
- Leeks: Remove the majority of the green part of leeks. Clean by slitting leeks lengthwise so they open like a fan. Finely slice (see photo). Heat 60 g butter on medium/low heat, add leeks, cook on low until soft (approx. 15 mins). Drain any excess liquid
- Garlic: chop finely. Heat 20g butter on low heat, add garlic and saute for 1 min. Remove from heat, add spinach. Mix.
- Cheeses: in a mixing bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, feta, nutmeg and black pepper
- Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°
Assembling the pie:
- Heat 80 g butter.
- Brush pan with butter.
- Pastry trips: cover with a slightly damp tea towel so it doesn’t dry out, become brittle & break. Completely line the bottom and sides of pan with 2/3rds of filo pastry (they can overlap and don’t have to look nice), brushing layers with a little butter as you go.
- Lay spinach in bottom, then leeks and finally cheese/egg layer.
- Cover with remaining filo pastry again brushed with butter – work quickly so pastry doesn’t dry out. Tuck sides in and bunch them up if necessary, they will become nice and crispy.
- Brush top with butter and cook for 50 minutes, till pie is golden. If getting too dark cover with aluminum foil while cooking.
- Serve immediately, while pastry is still crispy. It will naturally become soft once cooled.