It’s definitely feeling like fall in Seattle. The leaves are changing color and I’ve already had multiple opportunities to break out my lime green Hunter rain boots. I love these fall days. But mostly, I’m excited for the food. I can’t wait for butternut squash galettes, broccoli rabe pizza, kale pesto, and one of my ultimate cold weather favorite, swiss chard pie.
This recipe was originally printed in New York Times in 2008, and I have been making it ever since. It’s absolutely perfect on a chilly evening as a filling side dish, or even a main course. The flavor profile is similar to spanakopita, but in pie form–swapping the spinach for swiss chard. The chard has more of an assertive flavor, which I actually prefer because it is not overpowered by the feta. When friends ask me for a healthy recipe that actually tastes good, I always recommend swiss chard pie.
The process of compiling the pie is a little laborious, mainly because of the phyllo dough. To make things easier, I like to blanch the swiss chard a couple days ahead of time so the pie is ready to be assembled when needed . You can also assemble the pie and keep it in the fridge for several hours. Just pop it in the oven when you are ready. The leftovers can be reheated in the oven at about 300F to re-crisp the phyllo.
I love eating this dish warm with a side of cool yogurt dill sauce. The sauce is simply a mixture of Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and dill. The ratio of flavors can easily be adjusted to match your tastes.
Swiss Chard Pie
Adapted from New York Times
Yield: 6 servings
- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds Swiss chard, stemmed and washed thoroughly
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, preferably a combination of dill and parsley, or 1 teaspoon each dried thyme and oregano
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- Salt and pepper
- 12 sheets phyllo pastry plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil while you stem and wash the greens. Wash the chard in cool water and gently tear the dark green leaves away from the stems using your hands. Discard or compost the stems. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, add the chard and blanch for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon or a skimmer, transfer to the ice water to stop the cooking. Blanching and icing the chard will help preserve its green color. Once the chard has cooled, drain and squeeze out the excess water. Chop coarsely and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil or butter a 10-inch cake pan. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds to a minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the chard, herbs, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and stir the mixture for a minute, until the greens are coated with oil. Remove from the heat.
- In a large bowl, crumble feta using your fingers. Stir in the chard mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the beaten eggs to the mixture and stir to incorporate.
- Line the pie dish with 7 pieces of phyllo, lightly brushing each piece with oil and turning the dish after each addition so that the edges of the phyllo drape evenly over the pan. Fill with the greens mixture. Fold the draped edges in over the filling, lightly brushing the folded in sheets of phyllo, then layer the remaining 5 pieces on top, brushing each piece with olive oil. Stuff the edges into the sides of the pan. Brush the top with olive oil, and make a few slashes so that steam can escape as the pie bakes.
- Bake 40 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until the crust is golden.
Yogurt Dill Sauce
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped finely
- 1/2 clove of garlic grated finely with a zester or mashed into a paste
- Salt and pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a small bowl, mix yogurt with dill, lemon, and garlic. Garlic varies in potency, so you may want to add the garlic little by little, tasting as you go.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir. Add cayenne pepper if desired. The flavors will meld and intensify the longer it sits.