Swiss Chard, Spinach, and Feta Pide

Swiss Chard PideI believe I have mentioned this glorious Turkish cookbook before. It’s such an inspiration, and I want to make just about every single thing in it. I love that Turkish cuisine truly has something for everyone, whether it’s perfectly cooked eggplant, a wide array of grains and spices, or subtly seasoned kebabs. I had a pide or two in Istanbul–they’re kind of like pizzas with the edges curled up around the sides (so…a structural and thematic amalgam of a pizza and hand pie). My eyes lit up when I saw that chard was the main component of the filling because I love to cram as many greens as I can into our weekly menu.

Swiss Chard PideThis is probably the kind of recipe I would have felt intimidated by a few years ago, but it’s really very simple. Make the dough, cook the greens, assemble and bake. I love that the dough is lightly sweet and so yeasty that it reminds me of the hot buttered rolls of my Southern childhood. I also love that, with the proper amount of flour dusting, these roll out flat like a charm. Rolling pin success! Believe me, this may be the first notch I have on that particular belt.

Swiss Chard PideI love the weird and wonky shapes mine turned out to be. As my mother would say, this just adds character.

Swiss Chard PideThe cherry on top is a light egg wash, which gives the crust a beautiful sheen.

Swiss Chard PideAren’t they gorgeous?

Swiss Chard PideThis recipe makes eight pides, which is four delightful dinners for the two of us. I love the caramelized sweetness of the chard with the tangy bite of feta. And that’s not to mention that decadent yeasty crust. These are basically heaven. Enjoy!

Swiss Chard, Spinach, and Feta Pide
Slightly adapted from Leanne Kitchen’s Turkey

Pide
1 1/2 Tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup whole milk
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sea salt

-Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until the mixture is lukewarm. Remove from the heat and set aside.
-Combine the sugar and 1/2 cup lukewarm water in a small bowl, then sprinkle over the yeast. Set aside for about 8 minutes, or until foamy.
-Combine the yeast and milk mixtures in a large bowl and add the flour and salt, stirring to form a coarse dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6–7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. (Or you can just have your stand mixer knead it for you with the dough hook. That will save you some time and some flour under your fingernails.) Roll the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Filling
1 lb 5 oz Swiss chard, 2 1⁄2 inches trimmed from stems
2 1⁄2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb 5 oz spinach leaves
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1⁄3 cups crumbled feta cheese
1 portion Pide dough
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 1⁄2 Tablespoons water

-Finely chop the Swiss chard stems and coarsely chop the leaves.
-Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened.
-Add the chard stems, cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stems are soft.
-Coarsely chop the spinach stems and leaves, then add to the pan with the chard leaves, cover, and cook for 3 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted
-Season with salt and pepper, then remove from the heat and cool slightly. Stir in the feta cheese.
-Preheat the oven to 400˚F and lightly grease two large baking sheets.
-Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into eight even-sized pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll each piece into a 10-x-61⁄4-inch oval, using a rolling pin.
-Place one‑eighth of the filling in the middle of each oval, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge, then pull the dough up around the edges to partially cover the filling, pleating the edge.
-Transfer to the prepared sheets, brush the top and side with the egg yolk mixture and bake, in batches, for 15–20 minutes, or until the dough is deep golden and the filling is bubbling. Serve hot or warm.

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