Somehow I managed to let a lot of swiss chard accumulate in my fridge. I was overwhelmed and kept flipping through my cookbooks hoping for inspiration. Finally, in Laurel’s Kitchen I noticed two things, one that swiss chard can be used in many recipes that call for spinach and a recipe called chardopita. It is made a lot like their spanakopita recipe and I suddenly recalled how I so wanted to make that recipe when I first browsed Laurel’s Kitchen in junior high. Unfortunately we never seemed to have the required 2 lbs of spinach and I didn’t even know what chard was at the time. But I was quickly approaching 2 lbs of chard in my fridge and yesterday’s pickup definitely pushed me towards that. And then I remembered the recent post on Whipped about spanakotiropita. Of course at that point I went into this mode of trying to figure out the most authentic recipe, surely Laurel’s Kitchen’s version with cottage cheese wasn’t it. And finally I snapped out of it and decided to wing it a bit. I considered a few recipes and came up with the following recipe. And since my Better Homes & Garden’s cookbook said I could freeze their spanakopita recipe I went ahead and did that for all but 4 triangles (keep your fingers crossed). I also experimented with using a can of spray oil instead of brushing it over the phyllo, I think I ended up using the entire can and I don’t think it really helped me save any time, it certainly made cleanup a bit more difficult (an entire counter was covered in oil). Finally I thought the phyllo seemed a bit oily and I don’t remember that last time I worked with using the classic brush method.
Chard-Cheese Phyllo Triangles
- 3 bunches chard, well chopped
- 1/2 sweet onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 T oil
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t oregano
- 2 t dried dill
- handful fresh parsley, minced
- 8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 c cottage cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1 lb. phyllo sheets
- oil or butter for phyllo (probably close to 1 cup)
Clean the chard well, and shake all the excess water off, but don’t worry about spinning it dry. Chop the chard into small pieces (I did a two pass, first I chopped it into short ribbons and then chopped handfuls even more). Heat a large skillet and add the 1-2 tablespoons of oil and saute the onions with the salt until nice and soft, around 5 minutes. Add the oregano, dill and garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant start adding handfuls of chard and cook until nice and bright green. Turn off the heat and spoon the chard mixture into a sieve to drain (you will also want to press it into the sieve a bit). Set this aside to cool. Pull your phyllo out of the fridge to come to warm up a little.
In a large bowl mix together the feta cheese, cottage cheese and eggs. When the chard is cool enough to handle, mix it with the cheese mixture. Now read the directions on the package of phyllo – you have to keep this stuff covered while you work with it, make sure you have a clean surface to lay out the stack of phyllo flat and another clean surface to work with the phyllo, fill and fold it into triangles, and they phyllo-in-waiting must be covered all the time. Get your oil or butter and brush ready. I’m going to do my best to explain how I filled and folded these triangles. I used 2 sheets of phyllo and about 1/4 cup filling per triangle. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Take the first sheet of phyllo and lay it on your surface, brush with oil, lay the second sheet on top the first and brush with oil, then fold it in half (matching long end to long end) so you have a nice long but narrow rectangle that is 4 sheets thick. You will be folding the short side to meet the long side to meet the triangle so envision this as you place the filling at one end. Start folding until you’ve worked all they way to the end and brush the finished triangle with oil and place it on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Repeat until you have used all the phyllo and/or filling. (Aha, I found a visual of what I did to fold the triangles on How Stuff Works, except of course I made mine a different size; or check out Athens’ folding guide).
I managed to make 19 triangles. I had two sheet of phyllo left so I filled it with raspberry jam for dessert (the jam totally spilled out but it was still yummy). Bake the triangles for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and flaky. If you are going to freeze them do that before baking.