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Moroccan-style rainbow chard pie

Rainbow chard and Swiss chard are interchangeable in recipes, but the rainbow variety is prettier. Picture gorgeous jewel-coloured vegetation, with beautiful pink, orange, yellow and red stalks and big crinkled leaves. You cook it much like spinach, but giving the stalks a little longer to cook as they are tougher.

My favourite chard recipe is a Moroccan-style pie. Chard, sautéed with onions and garlic, wilts down to a mass of tangled greenery that is then enriched with raisins, pine nuts, lemon zest, salt, black pepper before being combined with a beaten egg and some crumbled feta cheese. This mixture is encased in layers of filo pastry and sprinkled with cinnamon before being baked in the oven. It’s very loosely inspired by a Moroccan pastilla, a sweet-savoury meat pie with sugar and spices. It’s salty and moreishly savoury from the cheese and pine nuts, but with a lovely fresh sweetness from the raisins and lemon that helps lift the rich, iron flavour of the soft chard. It’s also a fantastic way to use up a huge amount of chard leaves, if you have a glut (plus, markets tend to sell them in huge bunches, so it’s always good to have a recipe to help you get through it!)

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Cover the currants and raisins in boiling water. Brown the pine nuts in the oven until golden brown. Run a knife along the chard stalks to remove the leaves. Wash and slice the stalks into strips, then wash and cut the leaves into large strips.

  • In a pan heat the oil and soften the onion and garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, blanch first the stalks and then the leaves in boiling water until tender and drain well. Add this to the onion mixture and heat through to evaporate any excess liquid.

  • Drain the currants and raisins and add to the chard along with the pine nuts. Remove from the heat and add the lemon salt, feta, eggs, cinnamon and lemon zest and allow to cool.

  • Grease a fry pan with an ovenproof handle or a shallow round baking dish (about 20-25cm wide) with melted butter/oil. Lay five sheets of filo pastry in the pan at angles, brushing them with butter/oil as you go, making sure that some of sheets hang over the sides. Now fill the pastry with the chard mixture.

  • Place the last piece of filo on top of the filling and fold the overhanging pieces of pastry over the filling. Brush again with the melted butter/oil and bake for 25-30 mins or until the pastry is golden. Either serve from the pan or slide out on to a large plate, and dust lightly with cinnamon.

Recipe and photographs courtesy of Elly McCausland of Nutmegs Seven

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