Potato and Spinach Spanakopita

I think I either need to work on my photography skills or my blog layout: after, cropping and tweaking the picture above, I m a little dissatisfied with the outcome… I feel it fails to do justice to the actual dish. The thing is though, I cook food with the sole intention of feeding myself, family and friends and, at the end of the process, have little time for the fine styling required for photography.

Anyway, this is a dish I’ve been cooking for as long as I’ve taken cooking seriously. It originated from a recipe in Lindsey Bareham’s In Praise of the Potato and over time has been adapted to make a hearty and flavourful vegan main.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 6 – 8

1 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
6 medium potatoes cut into 1cm dice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
0.5 teaspoon ground cumin
1.5 teaspoon ground turmeric
juice of 1 lemon
1.5kg spinach
2 cups of mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup dill, coarsely chopped

1 packet filo pastry ( I used a hand rolled Turkish brand which is thicker and makes a deeper crispier crust.)

6 tablespoons olive relish ( You can use shop bought tapenade but I’ll post my own recipe some time soon.)
Extra virgin olive oil.
salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

In a large skillet, sweat the garlic and onion until clear and translucent. Add the spices and continue cooking for another minute. Add the diced potatoes and lemon juice and cook until the potatoes are tender and fall off the point of a knife when pierced – add a little water if needed to finish the cooking but ensure all liquid has evaporated before assembling the spanakopita.

In a large saucepan, sweat down the spinach, add the chopped herbs and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Drain the spinach in a colander, refresh, allow to cool and gently squeeze out any excess water. Roughly chop the spinach if necessary and mix in with the cooked potatoes -season with salt and pepper and set to one side whilst preparing the filo case.

Pre-heat the oven to 160C

Oil a suitably sized baking dish and line with the first layer of filo pastry, overlapping the sides of the dish. Brush with the olive relish – add some extra virgin olive oil if you are finding it difficult to spread the relish across the surface of the pastry. Repeat to build up 3 or 4 layers of pastry.

Depending on how much overlapping pastry you have, either fold over the sheets or create a crust using additional filo – repeating the process of brushing olive relish between the layers.Brush the top layer of pastry with olive oil only

Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is hot.

This dish can be served hot or cold and goes well with a beetroot salad, a salad of baby tomatoes and mint or a cannellini bean salad.

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