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Spinach, Wild Garlic and Feta Pie

April 25, 2013

Wild garlic, despite looking all woodland glade gentle and innocent, is a powerful flavour. It can be tricky to judge how much is too much as I’ve learned the hard way a few times. Having been gifted a massive bag of the stuff by a generous person via Twitter, I was set to smell of it for the foreseeable. If handled with care however, the slightly bitter, ‘green’ garlic flavour can be damn tasty.

There’s no doubt that I put too much garlic in this pie, but you don’t have to. Just use a handful, and you’ll be set. It’s a pie I’ve made many times, a spinach and feta combination and one that I’m a little bit obsessed with to the point where I start walking faster as I approach my house, burst through the front door, strip off coat and cardigan, fling handbag, dash to the fridge and, literally, start tearing and scooping mouthfuls out of the tin with my hands. There have been late-night Nigella-esque dressing gown moments too, though the consumption is less watch-me-eat-this-slowly but more…Homer Simpson let loose on a doughnut buffet.

Spinach is my doughnut, what can I say.

So this is a bit like a spanakopita or borek, with a pungent British twist. I used some pastry I bought in Khan’s but the safest thing to do is to use filo. I’ve made the pie a hundred times before so I can assure you that filo will work.

Eat in the SUNSHINE (woo!) with a chilly glass of crisp white.

Spinach, Wild Garlic and Feta Pie 

600g spinach, tough stalks trimmed
1 handful wild garlic, or more if you’re into that kind of thing
4 spring onions, finely sliced
300g feta
200g ricotta
Small handful dill, chopped
3 eggs
1 x 275g pack filo pastry
Olive oil, for brushing (or clarified butter, bit more naughty so I’ll leave that up to you)
Sesame seeds, for sprinkling
Nigella seeds, for sprinkling

Fills a tin approx 13 x 1.5″

Wash the spinach really thoroughly and when it is still wet, roughly chop it and put it into a large pan on a low heat. Put a lid on and let it wilt down. There should be enough water clinging to it to cook it. Stir occasionally. Once wilted, spread out on a plate to cool. Once cool, squeeze as much water out as possible and roughly chop again.

Chop the wild garlic and mix with the spinach and spring onions. Crumble in the feta and ricotta. Lightly beat the eggs and add them also along with some salt and pepper (careful with the salt due to the feta, it may not need any at all). Mix well.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Brush the tin with oil. Get the pastry out and keep it under a damp tea towel while you work with it, to stop it drying out. Start layering the sheets in the pan, letting each hang over the sides, until the whole base is covered with about 5 layers. Add the filling and fold in the sides, then add another 6 or so layers of pastry on top, again brushing them with oil. Brush the top with oil and sprinkle on a few sesame and nigella seeds.

Cook for approx 35 mins, or until golden brown and crisp. Let it cool before serving, it mellows considerably. I also think it eats better the next day.

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21 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply Samscam April 25, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Oooh nice! It occurs, if one wanted to go totally woodland on this you could swap the spinach for nettles 🙂

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen April 25, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Ooh nice Sam! Forage-tastic.

  • Avatar
    Reply Food Urchin April 25, 2013 at 11:19 am

    What happened to that wild garlic plant I gave you, eh?

    You killed it, didn’t you, eh?

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen April 25, 2013 at 11:27 am

      In a word Danny, no (maybe the opposite of no)

  • Avatar
    Reply Lizzie April 25, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    ASS PASTRY.

    I haven’t found any wild garlic yet. Boo.

    This looks delicious. I woke up thinking of spinach and feta pies after your party.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen April 25, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      I have to think of more ways to use ASS you see. Keep up the tradition, although nothing will beat ass gravy. The pie is made in the tin John left behind at the party. Tee hee. Must return it…

  • Avatar
    Reply pilsbury April 25, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    looks lush, but any ideas where I can get my mitts on wild garlic (foraged or bought!) locally?

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen April 25, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      Well you can buy it in the grocery store on Bellenden Road, I saw it there yesterday. I’m not sure where to forage locally. try looking in parks under trees – it likes the shade.

  • Avatar
    Reply Sue Beckett-Doyle April 25, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    And especially great with a glass of the old cricket bat juice!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen April 25, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      ‘cricket bat juice’! Bloody love it.

  • Avatar
    Reply Martina Redding April 25, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Here in Spain, we would add fresh artichokes. It’s the season now. They are absolutely excellent!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen April 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Ooh yes lovely. I am very partial to an artichoke. Ate them as a starter before the pie funnily enough.

  • Avatar
    Reply Jack April 26, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Instead of wilting the spinach or any other greens you can put the chopped vegetables in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt, leave them for 1-2 hours and then squeeze them several times, you can then add the oil to the rest of the filling. This technique produces a ligher pie with a more vivid colour rather than the slimy green colour that is the result of the wilting also it tastes much fresher due to both of the non-wilting and the adding of not cooked olive oil.

    Butter or ghee is always the best option for crispier pie as well as sprinkling the phyllo with water, another technique that produces a crispy phyllo is to brush the pie with olive oil and then empty all over the pie a small bottle or a glass of sparkling water.

    Finally a sprinkling of water over the pie before reheating will make the pie taste as just baked.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen April 26, 2013 at 8:29 am

      Blimey Jack, it sounds like you’ve made a few spinach pies in your time! The sparkling water technique is very intriguing.

  • Avatar
    Reply Jack April 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Yes, I have done a few pies in my life. I forgot to mention that the sparkling water works if you cut the pie into portions before baking it. The best way to do it is to put the pie in the fridge for an hour or for 10-15′ in the freezer and then cut it into portions without reaching the bottom of the pie. Then you brush with olive oil and sprinkle the sparkling water. Cutting the pie into portion before baking is always better in any case (produces a more structured pie and reduces spillage).

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen April 28, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      Ace, I did think about cutting it before I baked it but then I just er, didn’t. Cheers for the tip.

  • Avatar
    Reply Nayna Kanabar (@SIMPLYF00D) April 29, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Wow this pie looks delicious and it is cooked perfectly.

  • Avatar
    Reply Clare April 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I read this post on Friday and then went to the Wye Valley for the weekend. I have returned with two huge carrier bags of wild garlic with which I shall make a huge one of these pies (and also wild garlic pesto). Thanks!

    Also, I love Khan’s on Rye Lane, such a weird and wonderful shop.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen April 29, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Fabulous! Let me know what you think of the pie

      • Avatar
        Reply Helen April 29, 2013 at 5:53 pm

        And yes, Khan’s is amazing! One of my favourite shops in Peckham.

  • Avatar
    Reply Fiver Feeds March 13, 2015 at 12:32 am

    I don’t remember if I ever used feta in a pie. Spinach, garlic and any white cheese pie is definitely one of my favorites, I’ll try using feta.

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