Swiss Chard & Garlic Scape Spanakopita

I am inundated with veggies. Between my personal garden(s) and the CSA baskets I signed up for again this year, the refrigerator is jam packed with fresh organic produce. I am definitely a lucky girl.

One of my favourite vegetables just happens to be growing like crazy in the backyard. Rainbow swiss chard is bursting out of the ground in the most beautiful of colors. I picked 80 stalks, which didn’t make much of a dent to my chard patch, and quadrupled the recipe below.

I think that I prefer swiss chard to spinach in spanakopita now. These little snacks are REALLY good.

 

Swiss Chard & Garlic Scape Spanakopita

One large bunch Swiss chard (about 20 stalks), leaves separated from stalks, stalks trimmed and finely chopped

1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped

olive oil

salt

black pepper

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 garlic scapes

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil (or dill)

1/3 pound (about 300 grams) feta cheese, crumbled

2 large eggs

10-15 sheets of phyllo dough

 

Remove phyllo dough from fridge or freezer and bring to room temperature. Note that if your dough is frozen it will take quite some time to thaw. 4-5 hours on the counter or a day in the fridge.

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

 

Heat a tbsp olive oil in a large skillet or deep wide pan over high heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the chard leaves, working in batches, until wilted (this could take a minute or two). Remove the chard from the pan and set aside to cool. When the chard is cool, squeeze out any remaining liquid and chop coarsely. This is very important since the filling will be too soggy otherwise.

 

Sauté the onion with the chard stems in 1-2 tbsp olive oil with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chard leaves and nutmeg, continue to sauté for a couple of minutes more, just until the leaves are incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remember that your feta may be very salty, so be careful when adding additional salt.

 

Remove the vegetable mixture from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Try to squeeze the liquid from the mixture once more. This step is REALLY important!!

 

Whisk together the eggs and feta, stir into the cooled vegetable mixture.

Note – when working with phyllo make sure to wrap the dough that isn’t being used in a slightly damp tea towel.

You can make the spanakopita into individual pastry triangles or you can bake it in a square pan. If you’re using a square pan, cut 16 sheets of phyllo to fit the pan.

 

Layer eight sheets on the bottom of the pan, brushing each sheet with olive oil (or melted butter) before layering on the next one, spread the chard mixture over this base, and then layer the eight remaining sheets over the top, again brushing each sheet with melted butter before placing on the next. Score the top gently into squares or triangles to make the pastry easier to cut when baked. Prior to baking, brush the surface with melted butter.

 

If you want filled triangles you’ll need to make each individually. Start with a large clean working surface. I usually pour 3-4 tbsp olive oil on the top of my working surface. Using my hands I oil the working surface big enough for one piece of dough. Taking one piece of dough at a time I place it horizontally and then slice it down the middle vertically. I fold the far right edge into the centre, where the slice was made, and am left with a long rectangle that is 2 pieces of dough thick. Place 2 tbsp of filling, fold from one corner over into a triangle, then fold that triangle over again, and so on, as if folding a flag. If your phyllo tears, don’t worry, just keep folding. When it’s all folded up make sure to use oiled hands to ensure the entire outside of the triangle is covered.

 

To see an image of how to fold, see here.

If you’re freezing your spanakopita, you should do so now. To freeze, layer the triangles in a single layer on parchment and freeze until fully frozen, then transfer to a container. You can put the spanakopita straight into the oven from the freezer; usually about 20-30 minutes at 350. just wait until they turn golden brown.

 

Otherwise, place the finished triangles on a baking tray and bake 15-20 minutes, or until the top of the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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