My mum is not a great cook, but when she finds a recipe that works, she sticks to it. My family has been making and eating this spinach pie for as long as I can remember, and legend has it that it came from our old next-door-neighbour’s ex-husband’s mother, who was Actually Greek (this was a big deal in Canberra in the 80’s when it was still reeaaallllly WASP-y…).
This would have been one of the few times that leafy greens made it into our very meat and three veg mealtimes when I was a kid, and thanks to Mum’s (perhaps knowingly) substitutions, I thought silverbeet was spinach until I was about 21.
Anyhoo, it’s a winter staple at Chateau Brown, and a tradition I’ve kept up in my own kitchen.
Before we begin, a note on my recipes: unless I’m baking, treat everything as an estimate. I cook savoury dishes largely by feel, and usually go “off piste” as Gav likes to say. He thinks it’s annoying, I think it’s endearing.
(fills a big Pyrex lasagne dish, enough for 8 decent serves)
1 big bunch of silverbeet, liberated of most of their stems, washed and roughly chopped
1 bunch English spinach, ditto
1 cup fetta cheese, crumbled
1 cup tasty cheese, grated
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup – 1 cup olive oil
1 cup raw rice (whatever you prefer but probably not jasmine)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 tablespoons dill, chopped
3/4 cup parsley, chopped
whole heap of salt and pepper
5 eggs, beaten
frozen puff pastry to requirements (no I don’t make my own puff pastry, are you mental?)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 200C.
Wash and drain your leafy greens, and while they’re draining, combine everything else except the parmesan in the biggest bowl you have.
Chuck the greens in and mix well to combine. More oil may be required, you want it all shiny and decently moist, like thus:
Line your pie receptacle of choice with pastry and chuck the mixture in, then sprinkle parmesan on top. Put a lid on it, slash a few holes and wash with egg, or milk, or both.
In the oven for an hour or so.
A note on pastry adventures: like I say, I don’t make my own puff, however, in the time it took to defrost the pastry on Saturday, which involved me dangling sheets in front of the open oven door, I could have easily made shortcrust. And I don’t have a food processor. So by all means use shortcrust if you’d rather.