If you’re a fan of Spanakopita, the classic Greek dish, here’s a variation on the recipe for those among us who want to incorporate kale in our meals.
A tip: If you’re like us, you’ll enjoy the taste of spanakopita, but not all the time involved in folding the triangular delicacies. We work around this by layering our Kalekopita or Spanakopita much as we do with lasagne, and the presentation and taste are lovely!
This recipe calls for your choice of dried fruit; as might be seen in the photo here, we use dried cranberries packaged as “craisins”. Prepare a nice rice dish while the kalekopita is in the oven, and you’ll be in for a lovely light dinner, or a special lunch.
- Phyllo (Filo) pastry – 12 sheets; you’ll want to transfer the pastry from your freezer to your refrigerator the night before preparation, or set the package on your counter for about five hours before use, so that it thaws and you can handle it without breakage. Leave the phyllo in its package until just before you’re ready to use it.
- kale leaves – 10 cups / 2.2L (one pound / 454 gr)
- olive oil – 2 tablespoons / 30 mL
- onion – 1 large, minced
- green onions – 6, trimmed and chopped
- dried cranberries, currants or apricots, or a combination of your choice – 1/4 cup/60 mL
- dill – 1/4 cup / 60 mL if using fresh dill, or 2 teaspoons / 10 mL if using dried
- fresh mint leaves – 1/4 cup/60 mL
- feta cheese – 1.5 cups/350 mL, crumbled or chopped
- black pepper – a pinch
- eggs – two, lightly beaten with a fork
- olive oil – 1/2 cup / 125 mL, optionally combined with butter as below
- butter – 1/2 cup / 125 mL (optional; replace butter with additional olive oil if desired)
- Remove the phyllo pastry from your freezer; allow sufficient time for the pastry to thaw.
- Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C.
- Place kale in a large pot with only a little water; pop on the lid, turn on the stovetop burner, and steam the kale for only a couple of minutes or until the kale is slightly wilted.
- Drain the kale in a colander; press out as much liquid as you can into a bowl to reserve for future use in a soup or other recipe. Once the kale is cool enough for handling, squeeze it to remove more liquid as it’s important that the kale not be soggy. Chop the kale finely, and place in a medium sized bowl.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet and then sauté the onion over a low heat for about five minutes, until slightly soft. Add the green onions and sauté a few more minutes. Transfer the onion mixture to the bowl with your chopped kale.
- Add the dried fruit, dill, mint leaves, feta and pepper to the bowl; give the mixture a gentle stir, then allow it to cool while you whip the eggs. Once your kale mixture has cooled slightly, lightly mix in the eggs.
- Take a casserole dish, roughly 8 x 8″ / 20.32 cm in size; line it with phyllo pastry. At the left side of your dish, position each sheet of phyllo in the centre of the casserole dish, so that the phyllo will extend outward over the left side of your dish. Do the same from the right side of the dish so that, before you add your kale mixture, you’ll have a casserole dish with phyllo sheets extending outward on both the left and right sides.
- Add your kale mixture to the casserole dish, and then wrap/fold up the phyllo extensions from the left side of the dish. Brush lightly with olive oil (or the olive oil and butter combination). Repeat the process with the phyllo sheets that have been dangling over the right side of your casserole dish, brushing the dish with olive oil/oil and butter.
- Place the dish in the oven and bake 20 – 25 minutes, or until nicely browned. You’re exceptional; eyeball the dish and extend or reduce cooking time to suit your taste!