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Kitchen Witch - Greek greens and sweet onion pie

Spinach plan B begins with a 'C'

Consider the spinach hiatus an opportunity; after all, it's not the only big green name in town. Meet chard, a gorgeous ruffly green, donning stems in shades of fuchsia, yellow or orange. When cooked, however, chard is like spinach's culinary doppelganger. They look and taste nearly the same. Nutritionally, the two are close rivals. Like spinach, chard's vitamin A and K amounts are off the charts, plus a cup of cooked chard contains the daily requirement of vitamin C.

After a whirl with the recipe below, you may discover there's no more time to shed tears for spinach.

From Ready When You Are by Martha Rose Shulman

Greek pie crust

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup water

Equipment: 9- or 10-inch tart, pie or springform pan

In a bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the center and add olive oil and water. Mix together with a fork. The dough should come together in a ball. Do not overmix.

Pour dough out of bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead just until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide dough into halves. Press each half into a circle, about 4 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 15 minutes.

When ready to bake, roll out one piece of dough onto a lightly floured surface, into a thin 12-inch round. Spray or brush pan with olive oil. Line pan with dough.

Filling

2 to 2 1/2 pounds chard, stems removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add greens and 1 tablespoon salt. Cook for 2 minutes, or just until tender. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer greens to a bowl of cold water, then drain. Thoroughly squeeze excess water from greens, then chop.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onions and garlic, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in greens and herbs, long enough to coat with oil. Remove from heat.

Beat eggs in a large bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of beaten eggs for brushing the crust. Add feta and greens, mix well and season with salt and pepper.

Pour filling into pan, covering surface of the bottom dough layer. Roll out second piece of dough and place over filling. Pinch top and bottom dough edges together, crimping edges around rim of pie.

Brush top with reserved egg, and with a paring knife, make a few incisions on top to release steam. Bake 40-50 minutes, until crust is golden. Cool slightly. Slice into wedges, warm or at room temperature.

Makes six servings.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O'Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com.

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