It’s not always easy to come up with a festive menu in South Africa. The traditional yule tide hits usually hail from the northern hemisphere, where comfort and warmth are key to cozying up indoors around the fireplace. But in the southern hemisphere, it’s the opposite! Growing up, I remember setting up lavish tables on the farm stoep (and under a tree once, which my mother and grandmothers pledged never to repeat again… the tree was a few clicks too far from the house). My point is, while the classics definitely have a place on a Christmas table, I often find inspiration in the cuisine of the southern Mediterranean when thinking of what to make at home over the festive season, and this Greek-style spinach pie is always a huge hit. Still warm and comforting, but just a bit on the lighter side.
TIME: 1½ hours | SERVES: 8
125 ml Spekko Extra Long Grain Parboiled White Rice
30 ml butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
400 g baby spinach
300 g feta cheese, crumbled
1 egg, beaten
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 sheets phyllo pastry
50 g (55 ml) butter, melted
Heat the oven to 200 °C.
Boil the rice according to the instructions on the packet, drain and let it cool to room temperature.
Melt 30 ml butter in a saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Fry until soft and translucent and keep to one side.
Place the spinach in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and let it stand until wilted. Then, drain and let it cool. Squeeze all the water out of the spinach.
Place the rice, fried onion, spinach and feta cheese in a mixing bowl. Add the egg and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
Place one sheet of phyllo pastry on your work surface and brush with melted butter. Place another sheet of phyllo pastry on top and repeat with the last sheet pastry. Remember that phyllo pastry dries out very quickly, so when you are not using the pastry, cover it with a dampened kitchen cloth.
Spoon the filling on top of the pastry, but keep about 5 cm clear on the edges.
Fold over the edges on the sides and roll it into a log shape.
Place on a baking tray that is lined with baking paper and brush the top with melted butter and place in the oven.
Bake for 40 minutes until crisp and golden. Serve warm.