I am a bit behind this week in my posting. This should have appeared yesterday but I had an unexpected – and very happy – experience on Wednesday that has thrown me off course a bit. You will hear/read much more about it later in the year but, in case you didn’t catch my Instagram or Facebook posts, I spent three hours in the company of one of the world’s most famous chefs, Jamie Oliver.
For his upcoming third series of Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast with his mate, farmer Jimmy Doherty (Jimmy’s Farm), Jamie has deliberately eschewed the formal media and got some of us food bloggers and vloggers onside, to not only participate in the show, but also to get the word out about it. I will leave the rest for another post (with exclusive Jamie recipes!), but meantime here is a link to Jamie’s Facebook page, with a short, cheeky, behind-the-scenes video about the filming day. You can just see me in a “blink and you will miss it” shot at about the one-minute mark.
The three hours filming will be cut to fit into a much broader show on Scottish langoustines. But even if I end up on the cutting room floor, it was an unforgettable experience – but more about that later. I hope you are intrigued!
So, this is my kind of comfort food – a bit crispy, a bit squishy and very savoury. You can keep your macaroni cheese or your rice pudding (well, maybe I’d nick your rice pudding), I’ll have a double wide piece of broccoli and spinach pie, please.
I’ve been making versions of this quasi-Greek savoury pie for many years now. I think it may be one of the first vegetarian recipes I made when I first got married over 25 years ago. I’m pretty sure that I would have made it with puff pastry back in the day – and you do the same if you prefer it – but phyllo is so easy to get that I tend to use it as it is easy to mind the added fat with this option. But like I said, puff is fine too. You aren’t eating the whole pie after all. Right?
The idea for adding in the rice came about when I knew a friend was coming around for dinner and she wasn’t keen on eggs. I could have used chia seeds or aquafaba, or a few other things to help with the binding, but I thought, Hmm, rice. Squidge it up a little. Keep it all moist. That should work. Well, it did work. I do still prefer it with eggs, but my nutrition group and another group that also had it sans-egg gave it a big thumbs up, so I will defer to them. I give options for both. Basically this is a riff on my original – badly-photographed – spinach and feta pie from back in 2011 – one of my very first posts. And still one of our favourite meals. I hope you like the little makeover.
Broccoli, Spinach & Wild Rice Phyllo Pie
A longtime favourite recipe of ours, and of my cancer nutrition groups, too. Play with the proportions of veg and rice, use best organic Cheddar instead of the feta, change out the spinach for kale or chard – make this savoury pie your own!
This can also be made into little individual tartlets, a la this recipe. xx
500g (1 lb) fresh spinach OR equivalent of cooked frozen leaf spinach (avoid chopped frozen spinach as it is too wet for this recipe)
500g (1 lb) fresh broccoli, coarsely grated or finely chopped, including some stem (it is so sweet)
50g/1.75 oz pine nuts or pumpkin seeds
1 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 large organic eggs, beaten – optional (vegan option: 9 tbsp water mixed with 3 tbsp ground chia seeds and rested 15 minutes)
1 x 225 g/8 oz pack ewe’s milk feta cheese, crumbled OR ½ pack feta and 1 x 200 g/ 7 oz pkg plain tofu OR silken tofu, crumbled (add juice of ½ a lemon or two teaspoons yeast flakes if using the tofu)
150g cooked wild rice and brown basmati mix (or just the brown basmati), slightly squashed with a fork
75ml water, if excluding the eggs
2 tsp Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder, or equivalent seasoning – optional
1 nutmeg (to grate from)
1 unwaxed lemon
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill/tsp dried dill OR 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
4-5 sheets from a 270g/9.5 oz pack phyllo pastry (thawed if frozen)
1 tsp butter or coconut oil
Bakeware needed: 1 large round ceramic/glass dish (mine is 13″ diameter) OR a deep-sided 10″ x 10″ pan, well-oiled
What You Do:
1. Rinse the spinach and wilt it down in a large lidded pan. I just leave it on a low heat for five minutes, stir, and leave for another two minutes. Drain in a colander, pressing out as much water as you can, then chop and put in a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped broccoli too.
2. Put the pine nuts in a saute pan and dry toast them until starting to become golden and fragrant. You have to watch them like a hawk as once they heat up they burn very quickly – sometimes you can buy pre-toasted pine nuts. Pop these into the bowl with the spinach.
3. Add the oil to the saute pan and fry the onion on a low heat, stirring frequently, until translucent – about eight minutes. You can also soften the onions in a little vegetable stock only. Leave aside to cool. Once the spinach, onions and nuts are cool enough not to scramble the eggs (if using) mix all the filling ingredients together, grating in the zest of the lemon and about 1/8 tsp of fresh nutmeg (about 10 grates worth) and spoon it into your baking dish.
4. Lay on the sheets of phyllo, ruffling them a little to give texture to the finished dish. As you are doing this, heat the pat of butter/coconut oil in a small pan and brush the top sheet. I’ve found that you really don’t need to butter all of the layers to get a great result. You may even prefer this less oily version yourself. But use butter on every layer if you fancy (melting about 3 tbsp of butter to cover the sheets). Btw, I find that oil sprays make the pastry soggy. To help with neater slices, allow the pie to cool before scoring it with a sharp knife into serving sizes before baking. Sprinkle the top with poppy seeds or pine nuts.
5. Bake in a 190C/360F oven for about 30 minutes, more or less – check at 25 minutes. Let the pie cool for ten or fifteen minutes before slicing and serving. We like it with roasted peppers, my Brazilian Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad or Morrocan Carrot Salad and these potatoes (archived post). This pie also tastes great cold for lunch the next day. Serves 6-8 slices.
***Oh, if you are reading this before 12 noon, GMT on 18 September 2015, you still have time to enter my little giveaway to win a copy of Jamie Oliver’s latest book, Everyday Super Food. Good Luck!***