Smokey Gouda & Dark Greens Pita

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If I haven’t mentioned this before, my husband and his family are from Sarajevo, Bosnia.  A little Eastern European country that was part of the former Yugoslavia.  If you have to look that up, don’t feel bad.  I had no idea where Bosnia was when I first met him!  I definitely did a little research after our first date :).

spinach pie, spanikopita, middle eastern food, eastern european recipes, bosnian recipes

spinach pie, spanikopita, middle eastern food, eastern european recipes, bosnian recipes His family have made a variety of native dishes that I’ve grown to love.  My all time favorite in the world – sarma – or stuffed cabbage.  Man I could eat a ton of those!  In addition, his mom frequently makes “pita”.  And no, not the type of pita you’re probably thinking of (the bread).  Pita is a very common street food.  It’s dough, very similar to filo dough, thats stuffed with a variety of fillings – spinach, cheese, potato, meat, squash or even pumpkin – and rolled up like a snake and baked to crispy, buttery perfection.

spinach pie, spanikopita, middle eastern food, eastern european recipes, bosnian recipes

spinach pie, spanikopita, middle eastern food, eastern european recipes, bosnian recipes His mom makes pita fairly frequently.  And she always serves it with plain yogurt.  Which I originally thought was kinda weird, but it’s actually pretty awesome.  You gotta have some yogurt with your pita – it’s just the way it’s done.

spinach pie, spanikopita, middle eastern food, eastern european recipes, bosnian recipes

spinach pie, spanikopita, middle eastern food, eastern european recipes, bosnian recipes I decided to try my hand at the spinach pita or zeljanica (and nope, definitely can’t help you pronounce that one).  But instead of spinach, I used beet greens and swiss chard – it looked so good at the farmers market.  I sautéed all the greens together with some smoked gouda for the ultimate cheesy, creamy, savory filling.

spinach pie, spanikopita, middle eastern food, eastern european recipes, bosnian recipes

spinach pie, spanikopita, middle eastern food, eastern european recipes, bosnian recipes The filling is rolled into butter coated filo and baked until golden brown and crispy.  Oh, this is so good.  Crunchy, buttery, creamy filling!  And now that I’ve made this, I understand why his mom always makes 3-4 trays of this stuff.  Um…because one tray lasts like 5 seconds before it’s gobbled up!  It’s that good!

spinach pie, spanikopita, middle eastern food, eastern european recipes, bosnian recipes

spinach pie, spanikopita, middle eastern food, eastern european recipes, bosnian recipes You gotta try this!  And I bet you’ll surprise everyone you serve it to – who knew that Bosnia street food is so delicious?! Well you do now, so whip up a batch of this traditional delight!

spinach pie, spanikopita, middle eastern food, eastern european recipes, bosnian recipes Smokey Gouda & Dark Greens Pita:
Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs, mix of beet greens and swiss chard or other dark greens roughly chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 7 oz smoked gouda, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 package of filo dough
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • Optional Toppings:  flake sea salt, poppy seeds or sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in large pan or soup pot.  Add in onions and sauté for 5 minutes.  Add in garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  2. Toss in the greens – you may need to work in batches depending on the size of your pan.  Sauté greens until completely wilted.  Add in salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Stir to combine and taste – adjust for seasonings as necessary.  Set filling aside to cool.
  3. While filling cools, preheat oven to 375 F.  Once filling is completely cools, put about 1/2 into the bowl of a food processor.  Process until filling is finely minced, but not completely pureed – you do not want any large pieces.  Repeat with remaining filling.
  4. Place filling into a medium mixing bowl and stir in the gouda and egg.  Set aside until ready to use.
  5. To begin rolling the pita, start with one sheet of filo dough.  Using a pastry brush, coat entire sheet with a light layer of butter (don’t worry if you tear or rip the filo dough).  Lay another filo dough sheet on top, and again coat sheet with a light layer of butter.  Repeat this step on more time, so there are 3 sheets of filo dough coated in butter.
  6. Spoon about a 1-2″ layer of filling along the longer side of the filo dough sheet.  Don’t over fill, otherwise pita will be hard to roll.  Carefully begin to roll the pita like a jelly roll or burrito.  Don’t worry if pieces rip.  End with the seam side down.
  7. Slice in half and lay seam side down on a butter coated sheet tray (cut pita to whatever size will fit into the pan you’re using).  Repeat steps 5-7 until you’ve used all the filling or filled up your baking pan/sheet tray.
  8. Use remaining melted butter to brush over the top of the completed pita.  Using a sharp pairing knife, make small slits into the pita where you will eventually slice it – this makes slicing much easier after the pita is baked.  Sprinkle with flaked sea salt, poppy seeds or sesame seeds if you’d like.
  9. Bake at 375 F for about 60 minutes or until filo dough is golden and crispy.  Serve hot with plain yogurt and enjoy!

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