Popeye Pie (or Spinach & Feta Filo pie if you prefer!)

>> Sunday, 4 July 2010

Spinach ends up in my shopping trolley every week. It's cheap, healthy and either served hot or cold it has multiple recipe uses.

It's full of good things to make your body happy! Containing iron, vitamins A and C, thiamin, potassium and folic acid - no wonder it made Popeye grow up big and strong! .

Typically, I serve it wilted with a little butter and nutmeg or in a salad where it's firm leaves can take on warm, spicy chorizo and dense, creamy butter beans. However, I'm sure you can make a spinach salad without my help, so Popeye Pie is a slightly more adventurous way of dealing with it......

This dish is based on the classic Greek recipe Spanakotyropita, however I've taken out the herbs and added onions as I think this improves the final result....(I'm sure a Greek person would chastise me greatly for this..!).

You can serve this in thick wedges, hot or cold, which means it's a great picnic dish or vegetarian main (use vegetarian feta though if you are going down this route). My preference is to serve it as a summery alternative to a Sunday roast, eaten with a pile of basmati rice and crisp green leaves spiked with a lemon dressing. This serves 6, so you can get people round, enjoy the weather, food and their company. Perfect!

Popeye Pie

2 onions (1 red & 1 white)
50g butter
2 cloves crushed garlic (or use puree)
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg (fresh if possible)
200g feta
2 eggs
filo pastry (4 sheets required)

Step 1: Heat oven to 200c/GM6

Step 2: Slice onions and cook on a medium in about 20g of the butter until soft and golden

Step 3: Add the garlic, cook through for about 2 mins and then add the spinach (you'll need to do this a handful at a time until it wilts before adding the next). Put in a bowl to cool

Step 4: Add to your cooled spinach, crumbled feta, beaten eggs, nutmeg and seasoning (it looks funny but will taste great - promise!)

Step 5: Melt the remaining butter (30 seconds in the microwave normally does it..) and use some of this to butter a springform cake tin (normal 'victoria sponge' size - I used a deep one but I think shallow might be better). Next, add 1 sheet of filo so it covers the bottom of the tin but leaves pastry hanging over the side. Butter the filo sheet and turn the tin 90 degrees. Repeat with each remaining sheet (not as complicated as it might read...)

Step 6: Press the spinach filling into the tin and gently pull the sheets over the top to cover it up*. Brush with the remaining butter

Step 7: Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until the top is golden. Remove and leave to cool for 5 minutes if serving hot or until fully cold and chill for eating later.

Top Tips
  • *Worst case scenario...you may find a gap in the top where the pastry hasn't quite covered the filling. Don't panic! Just get 1 more sheet of filo, scrunch it up, apply to the top and brush with melted butter. Solved!
  • Bacon/Pancetta make a great addition to this recipe. Pan fry first and then add to the mix before pressing into the tin.
  • You can experiment quite a lot with the fillings too. I've tried pumpkin (roasted, pureed and mixed with 1 egg yolk, Parmesan, nutmeg and fresh white breadcrumbs) and roasted vegetables. Both taste great hot or cold.

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