SPANAKOPITA

Spanakopita has been eaten by the Greeks since ancient times. This delicious pie, made of perfectly crisp layers of Filo pastry and a comforting filling of typically spinach and feta can be enjoyed hot or cold, any meal of the day. If you don’t have one already, you need a Spanakopita recipe in your life.

 

Spanakopita was one of the main Greek dishes Zoy consumed growing up. It was always laid out at Greek Church events and family gatherings but his favourite memory of the dish was that of his Auntie Kath’s. She was like a Yia Yia to him and she would always make him her Spanakopita whenever he stayed over.  

Every Greek family has their own recipe. This one is closest to his Auntie Anne’s recipe, which, if you’re ever in Ballarat, you can try it at the restaurant she runs with her two sons - P. Frangos & Sons!

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Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

  • 2 bunches of silverbeet, washed and roughly chopped (stems removed)

  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped

  • Half bunch of dill, chopped

  • Half bunch of parsley, chopped

  • 6 spring onions, chopped

  • 2 large celery sticks, chopped

  • 2 eggs

  • Breadcrumbs (roughly a handful to1/4 cup)

  • 200g feta

  • 1x 375g packet of filo pastry

  • Olive oil for sautéing and brushing

  • Squeeze of half a lemon

Recipe Notes

You will need a medium-large, rectangular glass or ceramic baking dish.

With your filo pastry, let it thaw on the kitchen bench while you’re preparing the other ingredients. When thawing, leave it in the packet otherwise it will dry out too quickly. Only remove from packaging once ready to use. If you’re worried about it drying out, place a slightly damp cloth over it while you’re assembling each layer.

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (conventional) and heat a splash of olive oil in a large frypan. In batches, sauté the garlic and silverbeet until the silverbeet has softened (don’t fully cook/wilt) and add a squeeze of lemon juice.

  • Set the softened silverbeet aside in a bowl to cool. Meanwhile, in a separate large bowl, combine the celery, dill, parsley and spring onions. Mix well with hands to combine.

  • Once the silverbeet has cooled, squeeze out all the excess liquid with your hands and add the silverbeet to the herb mixture, mixing with your hands to incorporate with the other ingredients.

  • Crumble the feta cheese over mixture and mix with hands to incorporate.

 

  • Add salt and pepper to taste. (Note: taste mixture before adding salt as you may only need a little or none, depending on the quality of your feta)

 

  • Whisk the eggs with a fork and add to the mixture, mixing well with hands to incorporate.

 

  • Add a handful of bread crumbs and mix. (Start with a handful and only add more if needed. You don’t need much, it is just to help bind the ingredients together).

  • Set aside and prepare your baking dish by brushing it with olive oil.

  • Brush 1 sheet of filo pastry with olive oil and place it on the bottom of the dish, olive oil side up.

 

  • Brush second sheet of phyllo pastry with olive oil and place on the right side of the dish so that a 3rd of the pastry sheet is hanging over the edge of the dish.
     

  • Continue with the filo pastry, brushing each sheet with olive oil and layering slightly over each side of the dish. Repeat this 3 times so that 12 sheets of pastry have been used to layer the bottom and sides of the dish. 

 

  • Spread the filling evenly inside the filo-lined baking dish.

 

  • Once the filling is spread evenly, lay 6-8 sheets of filo on top of the mixture in the centre, brushing each layer with olive oil, then fold over the layers of filo hanging over the edges to cover the rest of the mixture, sealing the edges and brushing with olive oil.

 

  • Bake in the oven for roughly 45 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on top and baked on the bottom.

 

  • Cut into square or diagonal slices and serve warm.

 

  • The Spanakopita will keep well if properly stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. To reheat, simply place in a medium-heated oven until warmed through. It can also be enjoyed cold.

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