Mixed Greens (Spanikopita) Pie

When it comes to comfort food, people know what they like. Some people crave a big steamy bowl of Mom’s chicken soup. Others long for mac-n-cheese, or perhaps a pint of Cherry Garcia. But for me, it’s gotta be that taste of home, greens.

Upon seeing a fresh display of turnips at the grocery, I once tracked down the produce manager to find out what happened to the tops – the greens. He informed me that they had been thrown away at the regional distribution center. (You. Threw. Them. AWAY???) Cue the pout.

While I just love a big pot of greens on the stove, one of my favorite ways to satisfy a craving for greens is this adaptation of Greek spanakopita. I find that mixing the spinach with sturdier greens makes for a more satisfying meal.

Just about any kind of greens will work: Swiss chard (green or red), kale (curly or lacinto), or even collards – but those can be a little pungent. Mustard greens would work, but I can’t bring myself to eat them any other way than sautéed or straight out of a pot. Unfortunately greens aren’t as abundant in the West as they are the South, where $1.99 = one meager (and carefully rationed) bunch instead of all you can hold, so I tend to go with the greens on-sale.  I usually bake the pie in my favorite ruffled-edge 9″ deep dish pie plate, but a 10″ pie pan or medium baking pan works just as well.

It takes about an hour to pull together, but I hope you’ll give it a try. This is a terrific meal to nosh on all week long when looking for something quick to prepare, and makes a great ‘side’ for meat eaters in the household. It also reheats well in a toaster oven: just set your slice on a small tray, loosely cover it with foil, and bake at 400° for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Mixed Greens Pie

Yield = 1 pie (6-8 servings)

INGREDIENTS

2-3 bunches of a sturdy green (kale, chard or other)
10 oz. (2 packages) of fresh baby spinach
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp fresh dill
1/3 C crumbled feta cheese
2 eggs
phyllo dough
1/4 C more olive oil and a pastry brush

METHOD

  1. Wash and strip the greens. Blanch in a pot of boiling water for about 3-6 minutes, depending on the green. You’re going for wilted and bright green leaves – do not overcook. Remove to an ice bath and drain. Immerse the spinach for about 30 seconds and remove to an ice bath, drain.
  2. In a clean towel, squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the greens and spinach. Coarsely chop them and set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil (to medium). Add shallots and garlic and cook until translucent. Do not brown. Add red pepper and pause for a few seconds. Stir in greens, spinach and dill.  Set aside until cool.
  4. Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in feta cheese. Set aside.
  5. Pour about 1/4 C of olive oil (you may need more or less) into a small bowl. Brush a small amount in the bottom of your pie plate. Working quickly, overlap 4 layers in a wide circle around the bottom and hanging outside of the pie pan, brushing lightly with olive oil. Repeat process with 4 more sheets. You’ll have a big circle of phyllo.
  6. With a spoon, mix the greens mixture into the egg mixture.
  7. Spoon the pie mixture into the pan lined with phyllo dough. Fold the layers over the top of the pie, lightly brushing each layer with olive oil and top with any remaining oil.
  8. Bake for approx. 45 minutes until top is golden.  Serve warm.

Delish! I want to make it again now. Do you have any favorite spanakopita adaptations? Let me know in the comments!

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