Swiss Chard and Feta Triangles
This recipe was inspired by a vibrant bunch of rainbow Swiss chard I bought at the market on the weekend and some leftover feta in the fridge. Sounds simple enough right? These aren’t difficult but they do take some time. Filo triangles are the perfect project for a cold and rainy fall day and I am sure there will many of those ahead. The good news is they freeze well, so you can make a big batch and have them on hand for lunches, a midnight snack or with a salad for dinner.
Perhaps this is a bit of a decadent way to eat your greens but sometimes greens deserve decadence too. If you have anyone in your household who is reluctant to eat their greens, adding a little pastry, butter, and some cheese will surely do the trick. When I was younger it was a special night in our house when we got to have broccoli with cheese sauce. There is something about vegetables and cheese. Come to think of it cheese makes just about anything taste better.
If you live on the West Coast of BC and have a garden, chances are you have Swiss chard growing. Chard is a hardy green, one that grows into the winter months. Its beautiful stalks of ruby, yellow, orange and white shine bright on the darkest of winter days. Because of its abundance in these parts I find people are always looking for recipes that use chard and kale too. As with most greens, I prefer to pick chard from the garden or the market when the leaves are smaller and more tender. This recipe can easily be adapted to spinach if you prefer or don’t have access to Swiss chard.
While everything turned out fairly well in the end, I must admit I was in my own personal filo hell for a bit this afternoon. I decided to try the spelt filo this time. I am not sure if I had a bad batch or if it is more crumbly than regular or whole wheat. Those of you that know me well, know that when things start to go sideways in the kitchen it is time to get out! Fortunately I was alone and I managed to summon some inner calm and salvage enough of the filo to get the project finished. If you are looking to relax after a long week I would recommend baking bread or making a pot of soup rather than making filo triangles. Although once you get going you get into a nice rhythm.
Based on this experience I am not confident in recommending the spelt variety. I may try again one day. I have made these with regular and whole wheat filo and both were easier to work with than the spelt- I will leave it to you to decide.
If you are serving a large crowd or don’t feel like fussing with the triangles, this can easily be made on a large sheet pan and cut into squares after it is baked. I did this with a community kitchen I facilitate a couple of weeks ago and it was delicious and much quicker.
The triangles are nicer for freezing, snacking and packing in lunches and they look a bit prettier.
Flaky, buttery, cheesy, earthy and a little sweet- perfection in a triangle.
I would say these are certainly worth the effort.
Swiss Chard and Feta Triangles
Feel free to use spinach instead of chard or if spinach or chard are not in season you can use frozen spinach. Be sure to thaw it first and ring out as much water as you can. If you freeze some, they reheat nicely in the oven or probably in a toaster oven if you have one.
Makes 1 1/2 dozen triangles
2 tbsp olive oil or butter
2 medium onions, diced
2 large bunches Swiss chard, chopped finely
250g feta, crumbled
2 large eggs
Fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 package frozen filo dough, thawed to room temperature (you will need about 12 sheets)
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions in 2 tbsp of olive oil/butter until translucent and caramelized. Set aside in a large bowl to cool.
In the same pan, saute the Swiss chard until it is wilted and soft, about 5 minutes. If your stems are hard, cook them for a few minutes first and then add the leaves. Place the cooked chard into a colander, once cool enough to handle squeeze out as much liquid as you can with your hands.
In a large bowl, mix the cooled chard, onions, feta, eggs, and fresh cracked pepper.
Melt butter and have on hand.
For the triangles:
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Spread the filo dough flat, take 12 sheets and cut into 3 strips lengthwise. Stack the strips together and cover with a damp (not wet) towel to prevent them from drying out.
Remove one paper-thin layer of dough. With a soft pastry brush apply a light coating of butter all over. Place a second strip onto the first and brush on more butter. Be sure to keep remaining filo covered until ready to use.
Put about 2 tbsp of filling on the right side of the strip. Fold the left corner over, shaping a triangle. Keep folding in triangles until you get to the end of your strip. (see photo on blog) Tuck under the ends. Brush the top with a light coating of butter and place on a baking sheet.
Continue with the rest of the filo and filling.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until puffed and golden.
Let cool a bit on a rack and dig in!
For the pan version:
Preheat oven to 325F.
Spread the filo dough out flat. Cover with a damp (not wet) towel. Lay a single paper-thin sheet of filo onto a rectangle baking sheet- if the filo is bigger than your pan just let it hang over the edge. Brush layer with butter. Continue filo and butter layers until you have 6 layers of dough.
Spread the Swiss chard mixture evenly in the pan. Top with another sheet of filo, more butter, more filo until you have another 6 layers. Brush the top with butter and trim off excess dough or tuck it in.
Bake for 50- 60 minutes until puffed and brown.
Once slightly cooled, cut into squares and serve.
Note: You probably won’t need a whole box of filo. I find it works to wrap it up well and stick it back in the freezer for another day.