Instant Pies with Greens or with Chocolate and Nuts

Skillet pies –tiganokouloures or tiganopsoma in Greek, and gözleme or saç böreği in Turkish— have become our everyday project these days.

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There are three reason for this late obsession of ours: First because Costas has almost completely mastered the art of rolling perfect phyllo and he is eager to use his new skill as often as possible; second, we gather plenty of wonderful, juicy spinach as well as chervil, fennel and other aromatic herbs from the garden; the third, and probably the most important reason of these repeated attempts is the newly acquired electric saç (hot-plate) that I brought from Istanbul.

Not that skillet pies cannot be cooked perfectly on a griddle or ridged skillet. They are ingenious creations of the frugal Mediterranean cooks who prepared in minutes a delicious snack or meal with whatever they happened to have at hand: wild or cultivated greens and herbs, grated zucchini or squash, eggplant, pepper or even cooked grains or beans, usually flavored with cheese and/or sausage. The recipe I have in my Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts can be prepared in any kitchen, either here, or on the other side of the Atlantic. And this has been proven, since David Tanis chose to publish it at the New York Times, calling it ‘Greek Pie on the Skinny Side’.

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Hortopsomo: Crust-less Pie with Scallion, Greens and Herbs

This is a VEGAN and GLUTEN-FREE dish. Here on Kea I always add wild fennel fronds to the herb mix. Serve as main course, with rice pilaf or any grain dish. It is an ideal finger food, cut into bite-size pieces. If you want to make it more substantial, add 2-3 eggs and 2 cups crumbled feta (no longer Vegan). In Metsovo a similar pie has also leeks, and is called pispilita or blatsaria (see Variation).

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Read HERE more about greens and herbs in other well-known dishes.

 

Serves 6 (or 8-12 as part of a meze spread)

 

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Chicken-Rice-Onion-Feta Pie with Olive oil-Egg Topping

Kotopita from Epirus, as we call it, is my friend Stamatia Stylou’s delicious version. Stamatia comes from Livena, a Greek village in southern Albania, or ‘northern Epirus’ as the region was called in my father’s time.  

 

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Incidentally my paternal grandmother came from the broader area, but we have never seen her cooking or learned about any of the foods she used to prepare. She lived with my father’s sister and I don’t think I have ever seen her dressed with anything but her nightgown whenever we visited them. 

On Kea we make this delicious chicken pie with local free-range rooster—about three times the price of the supermarket chicken!

 

 

For a 15-inch round pan (serving 8-10)


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