Red Chard, like other leafy vegetables, has highly nutritious leaves. Falling into the same family as beetroot, chard (AKA swiss chard, silver beet, perpetual spinach, beet spinach, seakale, beet or leaf beet) is not Swiss at all - in fact, chard was purported to have grown in the hanging gardens of Babylon, was grown in China in the 7th century BC, and featured in ancient Roman and Greek cuisine.
Chard has been used in cooking for centuries; fresh chard can be used raw in salads, stir-fries, soups or omelettes. One could even escape the confines of normalcy and use the raw leaves like a tortilla wrap. Chard leaves and stalks are typically boiled or sauteed, as the bitterness fades with cooking.
Hortopita – Red chard pie.
A delicious recipe that makes the most of the leaves and stalks, turning them into a fabulous creation that can be enjoyed as leftovers as well!
1 large bunch of red chard
250gm feta cheese
1 small bunch of fresh parsley
1 handful of fresh dill
3 spring onions or red onion if you wish
3 cloves garlic
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon nutmeg
The How To:
Preheat oven to 200C
Chop the leaves from the stalks. Slice the stalks into 1-2cm pieces
Chop the leaves into thirds
Blanch the stalks in boiling water for 2 minutes.
Add the chopped leaves to the pan with the stalks and cook for a further 1 minute.
Drain and refresh under cold water.
Leave the chard to cool for 5 minutes, until cold enough to handle.
Squeeze out as much water as you can, then chop roughly.
Add the chopped chard to a bowl with finely chopped fresh herbs, nutmeg, chopped spring onion, crushed garlic and beaten eggs.
Mix everything together to combine.
Lay a sheet of filo in a square baking tin, brushing with olive oil before placing another sheet on top.
Repeat with another 4 sheets of filo.
Let the edges of filo overhang the edge of the tin.
Pour the mixture into the base, pushing it gently with a spoon to spread it out to the corners of the pastry.
Sprinkle over the feta in an even layer.
Top with extra filo sheets, four in total. Oiling in between each layer.
Fold the edges back over or tuck it into bed!
Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake until golden and crisp, approximately 40 minutes.
Store leftovers in the fridge, try this one cold too!