Spinach, pecorino and potato pies

Spinach, pecorino and potato pies

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

Pecorino is a sharp Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. In these pies it works beautifully with the Middle Eastern combination of spinach and allspice with cubed waxy potatoes. Serve them as a starter or light lunch dish with a salad, or as an accompaniment to roast lamb or other barbecued meats.


Quantity Ingredient
60ml olive oil
3 shallots, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 small bullet chilli, seeded, scraped and finely shredded
200g spinach, stalks removed and leaves finely shredded
1 large waxy potato, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200ml stock or water
40g pecorino cheese, grated
4 sheets filo pastry
20g melted butter, mixed with 20 ml olive oil


  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan. Add the shallots, garlic and chilli and stir over a medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the shredded spinach and stir for a further minute until it collapses and softens slightly. Then add the potato dice, allspice, salt and pepper and stock and bring to the boil. Cover the pot, lower the heat and simmer for 4 minutes over a gentle heat. Then raise the heat and cook uncovered for an additional 4 minutes, to let the liquid evaporate. Remove from the heat and tip into a sieve to allow any excess moisture to drain away. Stir in the grated cheese and allow the mixture to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. To make the pies, lay a sheet of filo out widthways and brush one half with the melted butter mixture. Fold this half over the other. Turn this smaller rectangle through 90° so it is again widthwise in front of you, and brush half with the butter mixture. Again fold it in half. You should then have a rectangle of about 14 cm x 20 cm. Trim off 6 cm from one side to make a 14 cm square. Brush with butter. Heap a quarter of the spinach mixture into a high mound in the centre of pastry. Fold the pastry sides up and over the filling and flatten them slightly to form a raised pie. Brush the pastry edges with melted butter to help them stick together and then carefully turn the pie over. Flatten and smooth the top slightly and then use the palms of both hands to shape into a neat round pie. Repeat with the remaining three sheets of pastry. Brush their surfaces with butter and cook for 8 minutes on a tray lined with baking paper.
  3. Remove the tray from the oven and turn the pies over. Return the tray to the oven and cook a further 4 minutes until the pies are golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
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