Friday, July 30, 2010

Hortopita #1

If I were a big fat liar, I would tell you that this dish came to me through my Greek relatives, of which I have bona fide several by marriage through my aunt Katee, and they are to a one outstanding cooks.  However, I pretty much totally made this up.

Hortopita deconstructed means "garden pie," and that is what this is.  It's like spanakopita, but made with whatever green things you might happen to have around.  In this case, I used broccoli rabe from the grocery store, as well as beet greens from my parents' garden.  My dad loves beet greens, and with good reason--they're pretty, delicious, and attract almost no pests--and so he plants beet seeds throughout the spring and summer so he'll always have as much as he needs (or more, which is how I got these ones).

This recipe isn't a recipe, but rather a guideline.  Stuff a large dutch oven with washed greens, cover, and cook until softened:

Cool the greens under cold water and squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can.  Chop fine and set aside.

Now for the next step I made a half batch of Faux feta from American Vegan Kitchen:

If you don't own American Vegan Kitchen, you should go out and buy it, but failing that, crumble up about 6 oz. tofu, and add lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and a little olive oil. 

Add fried onions, green onions, garlic, dill, parsley, salt, pepper, a dash of nutmeg, and/or anything else that suits your fancy until you achieve a taste you like: this is your filling.

Meanwhile, you've been thawing out a package of phyllo dough.  Cut the dough into the shape of the pan you plan to cook the hortopita in (just up-end the pan over the phyllo and cut around it).  Brush the bottom and sides of the pan with olive oil and lay on a sheet of phyllo.  Brush this sheet lightly with olive oil and add another layer.  Keep it up until you have a bottom of 7 layers of phyllo.  Add half the filling and press down lightly:

Lay on another sheet of phyllo, brush with olive oil, and add one more sheet.  Now spoon on the rest of the filling, and top with the remaining sheets of phyllo, brushing olive oil in between.

Tuck the top layers of phyllo dough under so that a nice pie forms in the pan:

Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes to half an hour, until golden brown:

Let cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.  This pie, like spanakopita, tastes best just warm or at room temperature.

Served here with a dish of pasta and zucchini and gigondes (giant lima beans or butter beans), which shall be the subject of another post, because I just love giant lima beans...


  1. THis looks really good. In fact, I have some leftover phyllo in my freezer that should get used--perhaps in this!

    Also, I somehow I missed your last post re: "eggs" but am glad I saw it. It looks great! You are 100% correct that a good sub would be just the ticket for the morning after overindulging.

  2. You lost me at "thawing out phyllo dough", but I do really miss Spanikopita. Not enough to try to make my own though. I love giant beans too. Trader Joe's sells really good ones.

  3. What! No onions or leeks?
    Your Uncle Kosta thinks you should send over a piece so he can try it! I made this last weekend and I also used a bunch of chopped romaine lettuce in it. But my Greek sister-in-law showed me her trick of sprinkling a little salt on all the greens and 15 minutes later, squeeze out as much juice as you can. Yours looks awesome and I love the gigantes beans too! I have some phyllo dough left over in the fridge so you have inspired me to fight my way through the cloud of mosquito's and gather as many greens out of my garden jungle!

  4. Ooops! I see you did add green onions!
    Signomi (Sorry!)

  5. Katee, I would send you a piece for Kosta, but (1) I am positive it isn't as good as yours ;-), and (2) as you might imagine, there isn't any left...

  6. Your pie looks delicious. Good to know that beet greens attract few pests...that would come in handy in my garden. I love the gigantic butter beans too, but the only way I can find them around here is in cans.

  7. Hi, Rose. The canned beans are good, but I lucked out and found dried ones at Bulk Barn. Happy day!

  8. That looks great! My phyllo never comes out as lovely as yours... but I've just bought a basting brush so maybe that will change!

  9. Zoa, you are so creative and ambitious. Your pie looks fab.

  10. Trinity, the basting brush will help, for sure!

    Andrea (and Shenandoah), working with phyllo is so easy it's almost a scam. Take it out of the package, cook it, take credit...