This recipe is a true Horiatiki Hortopita – A Greek Traditional Spanakopita, how the women from my village make it. Hortopita is a Greek Spinach pie made with traditional homemade phyllo loaded with various greens like silverbeet & herbs. A true Horiatiki Spanakopita.
Travel off the beaten track where the roads wind perilously deep in the mountains of the Peloponnese covering the region of Sparta, Mystra, Mani and Monemvasia you will find the spanakopita served is rustic, rugged and intensely flavoured much like It is a vegetarians delight, made with incredibly large amounts of wild greens ( Horta or χωρτα ), and quite surprisingly a sparse amount of cheese perhaps at most roughly crumbed and sprinkled throughout the mix. As well, the phyllo dough is home-made and hand-rolled to thin sheets.
Spinach or Silverbeet has been chosen in modern times because it is more widely available than the traditional wild green herbaceous plants.
For me, Hortopita ( a type of Spanakopita ) fuels many memories. I recall, as a young child, I spent many a time with my grandmother who showed me how to identify what is the right herb and green leafy plant to pick from the ground- somehow I found it to be quite therapeutic and later on as a result I realised it was her way for she and I to spend precious time together.
What makes a Good Spanakopita ( Hortopita ) – what you need to know
A well made and delicious Hortopita ( greens pie ) or now we would call it Spanakopita as it is mostly replaced with Chard or Silverbeet. English Spinach wilts to miniscule amounts and unfortunately does not make an adequate substitution into the filling.
There are some criteria that make a delicious authentic Spanakopita. The filling would ideally consist of chervil, Mediterranean Hartwort ( καυκαλιθρες ), nettle ( τσουκνιδα ), fennel – the green part ( μαραθο ), parsley ( μαϊντανός), dill, leek or/and shallots. The phyllo would be made with a hard flour, hand-rolled into sheets with a rolling pin and fresh extra virgin olive oil drizzled liberally over the Spanakopita, baked at a high temperature ( 200 degrees celcius ) to replicate a would-fired oven.
After reading this you might think, well how would we possibly be able to source these ingredients and at this point you probably have changed your mind about making this.
Don’t fret, in the recipe below, have replaced the Mediterranean wild greens and herbs with some robust leafy greens available to us. Our recipe here consists of ( baby rocket ) Arugula leaves, Endives, Silverbeet, dill, Shallots and Parsley. The phyllo is hand-rolled and don’t panic, we will show you how to make hand-rolled phyllo dough or sheets.
When you make your spanakopita, be mindful not to make it too oily, so that when your hands press on the baked pie – oil oozes out, nor should it be dry. Your spanakopita should not be bitter or bland, so only fresh leafy young leaves to be ideally used, and it should not be too wet ( dry your greens well before chopping).
Store-bought phyllo pastry cannot be used with this recipe. Store-bought phyllo in Australia is paper-thin and dry and does not have enough brawn to absorb the liquid from the Spanakopita.
If you would like to make Spanakopita with ready-made phyllo head over to the recipe Beginners Recipe for Spanakopita.
My children love this recipe and I must say am very proud that they love to eat something that contains such a large quantity of Greens. I will always make the Authentic version of Spanakopita to a crowd that is Greek, because the reaction is always so heartwarming. For many, it has been a very long time since they have eaten the ‘real thing’ and of course this humble ‘Χωριατικη Σπανακοπιτα’, stirs memories.
What to serve with a Greek Savoury Spinach Pie
Wild Cheril Hortopita and Spanakopita is super versatile and can be served with anything. It makes a great side dish for dinners and barbeques as it can be served cold or hot. Serve with a Traditional Greek Salad during summer or perhaps alongside a warm salad like Warm Roast Pumpkin and lentil Salad. Serve with other appetizers with another Greek Classic the Vegetarian Zucchini Fritters or Hummus Dip.
If you would like to make Spanakopita for your family dinner, make a Traditional Eggplant and Zucchini Moussaka or for at your Barbeque marinade your favourite cut of meat with our Classic Greek Lamb or Beef Greek Style Marinade.
This recipe is an Authentic Hortopita - A Greek Traditional Spanakopita, how the women from my village make it. Hortopita is a Greek Spinach pie made with traditional homemade phyllo loaded with various greens like silverbeet & herbs. A true Horiatiki Spanakopita.
- 4 Large Sheets Home-made Hand Rolled Phyllo
- 500g Silverbeet ( Chard ) or Mediterranean Hartwort
- 300g Endives or More Mediterranean Hartort
- 300g Arugula or Nettle
- 100g Fennel Leaf ( or Dill )
- 100g Parsley
- 1 Leek or 4 Shallots
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 200g Feta ( optional )
- Make 4 Sheets of Home-made Phyllo Pastry as per the recipe in the link.
- Finely chop all your greens and herbs. It should be finely chopped as per picture in Notes.
- Crumb the feta and mix through the bowl of greens and herbs.
- Season with salt.
- Pour 1/4 cup olive oil.
- Layer two sheets of home-made phyllo pastry sheets onto a large round 30cm diameter baking dish. It should be approximately 10cm deep.
- The sheets should be draped over the sides.
- Each sheet should have a liberal coating of olive oil.
- Add the filling ingredients, then another sheet of phyllo ensure it is draped over. Olive oil brushed on then another layer of home-made phyllo.
- Fold over in a tidy fashion the draped over parts, then pour more olive oil over the sides and top. I brush it on as well, to ensure an even coating .
- Decorate with black and white sesame seeds ( optional ).
- Bake at 200 Degree Celsius for 40 minutes. At 20 minutes turn the pie over, and cook for the remainder 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool a little , before cutting into squares.
- Serve on a plate.
Read the Affiliated Link for how to make Hand-made Phyllo Pastry before starting the recipe.
Make a decision about what combination of Horta ( Greens ) you are going to use for the filling. It is not an exact science, but the recipe is meant as a guide.
If you are able to source any of the Traditional Mediterranean Greens then use those.
All the ingredients for the filling should be finely chopped. As they are not blanched before hand finely chopping is important.
Not blanching, ensures the phyllo absorbs all the liquid and flavour from your wild and cultivated greens.
You should have approximately 1500g of filling consisting of all the greens and herbs. It seems like alot, but when cooked, greens tend to reduce in volume substantially.
Make different shapes. Scroll, roll, think sheet, thicker. Experiment. If your sheets of phyllo are smaller, thats ok, use a smaller pan.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 154 Total Fat: 14g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 12mg Sodium: 176mg Carbohydrates: 6g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 2g Protein: 3g
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