Banitsa

Having lived in Bulgaria full time for 2 years now, I have learned lots of new recipes and wanted to share this one. Banitsa is a traditional Bulgarian dish made with filo pastry, feta cheese and seasonal organic vegetables. It’s usually served as breakfast but we like it with salad on warm evenings or home made potato chips on cold ones! 

Ingredients

Ready made filo pastry

500g/1lb spinach cut in strips or grated courgette

100g/3oz butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

200g/7oz feta cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp walnuts or almonds, finely chopped

2 eggs, beaten

1 tbsp dill

2 tbsp parsley

Salt & pepper

Method

To make the filling, first steam spinach for 5 minutes or courgette for 15 minutes. Squeeze out any excess liquid and put aside.

Melt 25g/1oz butter in a frying pan. Add onion and cook on medium heat until softened. Keep stirring to avoid burning.

Add garlic and after a minute, remove from heat and add to vegetables. Stir in all other ingredients (except butter and pastry!) and season.

Melt rest of butter in a clean pan. Grease a deep tin or dish about 22cm/8.5” square or similar. Lay in first sheet of filo pastry allowing edges to overhang the dish. Brush with melted butter then cut next sheet of pastry to internal dish size and lay on top. Brush with butter then repeat with 2 more sheets.

Cover evenly with filling.

Fold over the overhanging pastry before adding 4 more sheets of filo pastry cut to size, again brushing with butter between each one. 

Cut the top layer in half then half again to make 4 servable portions. Brush any remaining butter into the gaps and bake at 180°C/359°F/Gas 4, for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and continue the cut lines to the base of the banitsa. Use a fish slice to serve.

Note: if herbs are fresh then halve the amounts.

Melly

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