Wild greens constitute one of the greatest capital of Cretan cuisine. No one knows exactly how many different species of plants are used for human consumption and helped these people to survive during wars and occupation times. I read that more than 120 herbs from the coastal zones to the higher mountain regions have been identified and counted.
Picking wild greens is a very enjoyable activity and the prepared meals are super healthy food!
For this recipe I used self-seeded Swiss chard form last year who is sprouting here and there in my vegetable garden. A great gift form the nature.
For the “Cretan” flavourful taste, I added mint and dill and some feta.
Usually these greens pies are prepared in the oven and the dough used for this is the filo.
One of the specialties of Sfakia are the “Sfakianopites”: round flat pies filled with local mizithra cheese, pan-fried (without oil or butter) and then, served with a generous drizzle of Cretan honey.
For this pies I used the technique of the sfakianopites and worked very well.
For the dough I used my sourdough recipe which, thanks to the long ferment time, turns very elastic for rolling it out. https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/2018/05/07/basic-bread-recipe/
For the yogurt sauce see: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/mint-and-dill-yogurt-sauce/
Xortopita - Greek Greens Pie
- ½ cup sourdough starter (or ¼ cup water + ¼cup flour + 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast)
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 300 greens (I used the green part of Swiss chards)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 spring onions, finely chopped, tender green part as well
- 3 tablespoons cup finely chopped fresh spearmint
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
- 200 g crumbled feta
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the sourdough starter with the water and the first cup of flour for the first rising into a big bowl, cover and let sit until spongy. The time depends of the kind of yeast (if using sourdough starter often I combine them the evening before or early in the morning) and the temperature.
- Add the the other two cups of flour and the salt for the second rising knead shortly and let lit for about 20 minutes. Now knead again until smooth. I perform this step directly in the bowl using a dough spatula and folding over the bread until done. Let rise a few hour until doubled. During this time prepare the filling.
- Wash the greens and drain very well. Then slice them.
- Heat the oil and fry the onion until translucent. Add the greens and cook stirring from time to time until the liquid is almost adsorbed.
- Add the herbs and combine well.
- Add the feta and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place on in a bowl to cool down.
- When the dough is soft, divide it into 6 pieces. Make 6 portions of filling. Note: you may make also more pieces/portions and make smaller pitas.
- Roll out the dough to the size of about 15 cm on a well-floured surface. Place the filling on it and carefully close the filling into the dough trying to exclude as much air as possible.
- Dust well with flour and slowly roll this out to the desired size. I made round of about 25 cm. Do not staple them, but place them on a well-floured surface until cooking time. Best if you would in team and somebody helps you the roast the pitas while you roll them out.
- Heat a skillet and roast dry on both sides until browned. Note: We decided to cook them on the open fire.
- Serve if warm with yogurt sauce.
- Leftovers may be kept in the fried for a few day or be frozen.