Swiss Chard Filo Pie
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
This Greek-influenced vegetarian, company-worthy entree is a less fussy version of the classic spanakopita, but it is a flavor-packed dish with plenty of herbaceousness that bursts with crunch at first bite. Don’t forget to defrost the filo dough in the refrigerator; if you do this the night before you plan to make this dish, it will be ready and waiting to be filled with yumminess.
3 tablespoons Greek olive oil or other good-quality olive oil
½ large red onion, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 shallot, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch dice (about 2 tablespoons)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 pounds roughly chopped Swiss chard leaves and stems (2 very large or 3 small bunches)
½ cup roughly chopped pitted Kalamata or Greek olives
¼ cup roughly chopped marinated artichoke hearts, drained (about 4)
2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram or oregano leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cups (12 ounces) crumbled low-sodium feta cheese
½ cup (about 2 ounces) grated Kefalotyri or Romano cheese
7 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup (1 stick) salted, cultured butter
10 black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
3 bay leaves
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
¼ pound frozen filo dough, defrosted in the refrigerator (¼ box)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 14- by-9½-inch tall rectangular baking dish (such as a lasagna pan) with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Set aside.
- Make the filling: Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 3 to 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until they have softened. Add the garlic, stir well, and cook for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to incorporate.
- Add as many of the chard leaves as the pan can hold and cook, spooning the hot onion mixture over the leaves, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the chard leaves are fully wilted and very dark green in color. Repeat the process, working in batches, until all the chard is wilted. Remove from heat and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the olives and artichokes and stir well. Add the dill, marjoram, and thyme and mix well. Add the feta and grated cheese and mix well. Making sure that the mixture is no longer piping hot, add the eggs and mix well. Set aside.
- Make the filo topping crust: Heat the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Add the peppercorns, cloves, allspice, and bay leaves. As soon as the butter is melted, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 5 minutes.
- Place the chard mixture into the baking dish. Remove the filo dough from its plastic wrapper, unroll it on a work surface or plate, and cover with a piece of parchment paper. Drape a few moist paper towels over the parchment paper, covering the entire surface of the filo dough (see Kitchen Tip).
- Carefully peel 1 sheet of filo from the pile, replacing the covering of parchment and paper towel while you work with this sheet. Place the sheet of filo onto the chard mixture. With a pastry brush, gently dab the some of the melted butter all over the surface of the filo. Place another sheet on top and brush again. After the first 4 sheets, place 2 sheets on and dab the surface liberally with the butter. Top with another 2 sheets, dabbing and brushing again. Repeat until you have used up 12 sheets. With a fine-mesh strainer, strain the remaining butter over the top.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately.
- Once you unroll the defrosted filo, place a piece of parchment over it and then cover the parchment completely with moistened paper towels; filo dries out quickly and this will help prevent excess breakage. Of course there’s no getting around the fact that some always break; it doesn’t matter—it will still taste good.
- This chard pie will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for at least 2 days; it will not be crispy at all, but it will be soft and completely yummy. It’s a great next-day breakfast food. Try it with a fried or poached egg on top.