These are seriously good. Lovely green spinach, salty tang of the feta cheese, a nice bite from the toasted pine nuts all encapsulated within a crackle of warm filo pastry. How can they not be good?! My mother was going on and on about these spinach and feta parcels she ate at a friends dinner party, so much so it was driving me a little bit mad.
So I had to make them. Partly because of the fact I wanted her to shut up about them and partly because, well, who doesn’t love feta cheese? If you don’t like feta cheese then I’m not sure we can be friends… then again I’m friends with someone that doesn’t like chilli OR cinnamon which are practically staples in my diet. I’m not sure how that happened (they have a general love of food and eating otherwise so I think that’s where the mutual boundaries lie).
Anyway! The filling for these guys don’t take long to make so if you’re planning ahead you could make it a few hours ahead or even the day before. The assembling and making of the parcels take a bit more time so not necessarily a last minute dinner idea if you’re in a rush. I warn you, these are rather addictive – my family of four got through about 10 of these guys in one dinner. I ate the leftover two cold the next day for lunch (just as delicious).
Spinach, Feta and Pine Nut Parcels
Makes 12 parcels
You will need:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 kilo of spinach leaves, fresh
- 1 block of feta cheese
- 75g of pine nuts, toasted
- 2 packs of filo pastry (6 sheets in each pack)
- 100-200g melted butter
- 2 teaspoons paprika (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste (1/2 teaspoon each)
- Begin by heating the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat, add in the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add in the spinach and cook down until just wilted. Incorporate the seasonings and remove from the heat and place in a large bowl. Chop or crumble up the feta cheese with the spinach and leave to the side. Don’t worry if the feta starts to melt a little. Toast the pine nuts in the same pan and add to the mixture.
- Now for the filo pastry. Remove the sheets from the packaging and place on a clean work surface (no need to dust with flour). Carefully pick up the top sheet and place on the counter in front of you with the shorter sides facing you – using a pastry brush cover the surface with melted butter and gently place the next filo pastry sheet on top in the same manner. Repeat this step one more time. Cut the pastry into three equal strips.
- Take a bit more than a tablespoon-full of the spinach and feta mixture and place on a corner of the rectangular strip. Carefully fold the slice over itself and again following the bottom line of the last fold. This should create a samosa-triangle effect. Here’s a good visual how-to.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the remaining pastry sheets and filling. Place the triangles on a baking sheet. Top each parcel with melted butter.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Leave to cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving. I ate these with a lovely quinoa, pearl barley, lentil dish with chargrilled artichokes and roasted red peppers.