Monday, 19 March 2012

Meat Free Monday: mostly Greek feta pie

I hope that a Greek person will immediately recognise this as tiropita, but I wasn't aiming for authenticity when I made it. I just wanted to make something with phyllo pastry and a creamy, cheesy filling.

Half way through beating the filling, I had a sudden memory of the divine
spicy cheese dip htipiti, which I first encountered in Joanne Weir's wonderful book From Tapas to Meze. A sudden yearning for spicy cheese sent me lunging for the bottle of smoked chilli sauce, and a goodly measure was applied to the filling.

To accompany my cheese pie, I decided to stick to my mostly-Greek theme and stuff some peppers. The Greeks do love their yemista! Instead of the typical substantial Greek fillings though, I based mine on the Piedmontese peppers popularised by Elizabeth David, Delia Smith, Jeremy Lee, Simon Hopkinson (and pretty much every other British food writer) and gave them a bit of a Greek twist.

So, unusually for me, today I have two delicious, meat-free recipes to offer you. They work extremely well together and are equally good served warm or at room temperature. It's also quite economical to make these together because they cook for the same length of time and at the same temperature, so they can happily share space in the oven.

Peppers στο πόδι του βουνού (babelfish assures me that this is the translation of "at the foot of the mountain" - which is what Piedmont means - I look forward to hearing from Greek speakers what I actually just wrote)

3 small red or orange peppers
12 black olives
juice of half a lemon
pinch of oregano
2 cloves garlic
3-4 tomatoes
olive oil

Halve the peppers lengthwise and put in a baking dish. Fill each half with 2 olives, cut in half, a pinch of oregano, a squeeze of lemon and a couple of slices of garlic, then nestle in a half or quarter tomato (depending on size) and a drizzle of olive oil.

Bake at 180C for 45 minutes.

Mostly Greek Feta Pie (makes 6-8 portions)

packet phyllo pastry
125g butter, melted
600g feta (if it ain't Greek, it ain't feta)
250g ricotta
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
4 spring onions, sliced finely
Handful of fresh dill, chopped
slosh of chilli sauce, to taste

Make the filling first, by simply crumbling or mashing the feta with a fork and adding the ricotta, eggs, spring onions, dill and chilli sauce.

Brush a lasagne dish with melted butter, then layer half the pastry in, brushing between layers with more of the butter. Work quickly, so the remaining sheets of pastry don't dry out.

Scrape the filling into the pastry, then top with the remaining sheets, again brushing with butter in between layers. Fold any sticking-out bits in neatly and brush with more butter.

Bake at 180C for 45 minutes, then allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into portions, to allow the filling time to set a bit.


Suelle said...

I like your Greek(ish) version of Piedmont peppers!

James Brewer said...

I really like feta, and this pie does looked and sound totally delicious!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Sue - thanks! They work well.

James - I was very happy with how it turned out.

Vianney Rodriguez said...

The peppers look amazing! I love to find new menu idea that are meat free!

Dharm said...

Those pies look really good! I've never been able to use Pyllo without it cracking and breaking when spreading the oil/butter over it! I must try again sometime :)

The Cat's Mother said...

They often say one can only make this successfully with red capsicum but I used green ones and they tasted good and the colour contrast was nice as well

grace said...

feta smells like dirty feet to me, so you can probably understand why i don't like to eat it. that said, i LOVE phyllo, and your pie looks extraordinary...even if it might smell like a pile of grungy socks to my nose. :)

Unknown said...

This is my kind of dinner! Love everything in here!

Caroline said...

They both look delicious to this roasted vegetable loving cheese fiend.

Choclette said...

I so love your meat free Mondays - mmmm!


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