Swiss chard

Some readers may be wondering who or what Swiss chard is. It’s a fair question because this vegetable doesn’t get much air time. Although it’s often compared to spinach, chard has a subtler and, in my opinion, superior flavour. I’d go as far as saying it’s one of my top five leafy greens. Don’t be fooled by the packets of multi-coloured rainbow chard though – they’re just another disgusting example of Pride for profit.

Given its name, you would assume chard is as Swiss as Roger Federer or assisted suicide. In fact the vegetable hails from the shores of the Mediterranean, which is where it enjoys most of its popularity. In Beirut, chard leaves are stuffed with delicious herby rice. In Nice, a local speciality is tourte de blettes – sweet Swiss chard tart which has been flavoured with raisins and brandy. I prefer chard as a filling in savoury pastries, especially when it’s coupled with feta. These chard and feta parcels are inspired by the Greek filo pastry pie spanakopita. They make a delicious starter or addition to a mezze.

Chard and feta filo parcels

(Makes 16)
500g Swiss chard, roughly chopped
300g feta, crumbled
50g pine nuts
90g yoghurt
large handful dill leaves
¼ tsp chilli flakes
250g filo pastry

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C (170°C fan) and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  2. To make the filling, wilt the Swiss chard in a large pan until all of the liquid has evaporated (you may have to do this in batches). Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add all the ingredients except for the pastry. Mix well and set to one side.
  3. Lay three sheets of pastry one on top of the other and cut them into 8 squares. Cover the pastry you aren’t using with a tea towel to stop it drying out whilst you make the parcels. Take a square of pastry and brush it lightly with olive oil. Place two heaped tsp of filling in the centre then fold in the corners. Twist at the top to seal the parcel, then brush it with more oil. Repeat until you have used up all the pastry. You should have 16 parcels.
  4. Place the parcels on the baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Cook for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

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