Spinach and Chard

SPANAKOPITA

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1kg spinach, chopped
  • 30g dill or parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 125g ricotta cheese
  • 250g crumbled feta cheese
  • 8 sheets filo pastry
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Saute onion, garlic in olive oil until soft.  Stir in spinach and herbs, saute until spinach is limp, (2-4 mins), season.   Cool.

Mix together eggs, ricotta and feta .  Stir in spinach mixture.

Lay 1 sheet of filo in oiled baking tin, brush lightly with olive oil.   Repeat  with three more sheets of filo.  The sheets can overlap the tin.

Spread spinach & cheese mixture into tin and fold overhanging filo over filling.  Brush with oil, then layer remaining 4 sheets of filo, brushing each with oil.  Tuck overhanging filo into tin to seal filling.

Bake 180c. for 30 – 40 minutes, until golden brown

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CHARD

Method 1- cut leaves away from the ribs (stalk) with scissors or knife then cut leaves into ribbons. Slice ribs thickly. Pour in enough water to just cover bottom of a wide, shallow pan, add a knob of butter or dash of good olive oil, and bring to a simmer. Put in chard ribs with pinch of sea salt add a knob of butter or dash of good olive oil,  bring to a simmer. Put in chard ribs with pinch of sea salt and put a lid on pan.Keep heat low and after 2 mins add the chard leaves to pan and cook further 2-3 mins with lid on (turning occasionally) till tender.To serve, drain off excess liquid and serve with knob of butter or drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon or orange juice.

Method 2 – heat a wok and add tablespoon sunflower or vegetable oil,some chopped garlic or ginger or chilli  plus a handful  of thinly sliced shallots (or all four) Stir then add chard ribs , stir fry for a minute then add leaves and stir fry till tender.

Method 3 –  mash some cooked potato or sweet potato, add chopped parsley & thyme, beaten egg, grated Parmesan cheese & chopped spring onions. Blanch leaves in boiling water for few seconds then drain & lay them on a flat cloth to dry. Put portions of potato mixture onto leaves and roll up or fold into parcels then put parcels into an oiled pan, cover with stock or water, season and cook with cover on very gently for approx 40 mins.Check and add more liquid if needed. Serve sprinkled with toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds.

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Spinach

Rinse spinach, thoroughly in cold water, transfer to a colander removing thickest stems

Repeat process then shake off excess water. Spinach exudes lots of green water when cooked and collapses to a fraction of original volume. It needs very little cooking.

To cook. After rinsing cram it into a wide deep pan, put on lid and simmer over med heat. After 3 mins, remove lid and turn spinach so it cooks evenly. Replace lid and continue cooking for  3 mins, remove lid and turn spinach so it cooks evenly. Replace lid and continue cooking for 1-2 mins. Drain in a sieve and press down to remove more water then serve with a knob of butter and freshly ground pepper.

Alternatively, stir fry spinach by heating a large wok till it smokes. Add salt and freshly ground pepper a tablespoon of sunflower or sesame oil to the wok then add in chopped garlic, and grated fresh ginger. Blott off excess water from washed spinach then pile it into wok and  stir fry till leaves start to collapse. Throw in some sesame seeds then transfer spinach to a warm serving dish.

2 other suggestions:-

1/ Cook pasta till al dente (just tender) turn off heat and add raw shredded spinach leaves into the pan with the pasta. Take pan to sink to drain into a colander. Add any sauce of your choosing or you

OR a few spoonfuls of tomato paste, some olive oil and cubes of mozzarella.

2/ Rinse spinach then squeeze out water, Fry a chopped onion in 1oz butter till tender, add 2 cloves chopped garlic and 2oz shelled, roughly chopped walnuts. Fry for 1 min then add spinach, 7oz crème fraiche, salt and pepper and stir well. Simmer few mins till cream has thickened then stir in 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, taste and adjust seasoning then serve.

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