Kolokothópita – Courgette Pie

This is another one of the superb traditional Greek pies. This one has a filling of grated courgettes or marrow. I really like adding a bit of grated butternut squash too. As with all the vegetable pies, it is good to get as much liquid out of the vegetables as possible, to keep the filo pastry nice and crispy. It’s a perfect vegetarian recipe for both the summer and autumn.

6-7 large courgettes (preferably the ‘white’ variety)

OR  1 medium sized marrow (approx 750 gm to 1kg)

180 gms peeled butternut squash (optional)

1 large leek

1 small handful of flat leaf parsley

1 small handful of dill

2 eggs, well beaten

3-4 tabs Greek yoghourt

150 gm feta, crumbled

Salt

Ground black pepper

1 packet (approx 250 gm filo pastry

Olive oil

Sesame seeds and or nigella seeds (optional)

 

Into a colander, grate the courgettes/marrow and the butternut squash, if you have chosen to use it.

Sprinkle with a little salad and leave in the colander so that the liquid starts to leach – it’s a good idea to stand the colander on a plate!

Finely chop the leek, parsley and dill and place in a large mixing bowl.

Next, one handful at a time, take the grated courgette/marrow and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Add the squeezed, grated courgette/marrow to the chopped leeks and herbs.

To this add the beaten eggs, the yoghourt and the crumbled feta, a little salt and black pepper and mix well. Remember when adding the salt that feta is quite salty in itself.

Now, take a medium sized roasting tin and brush with olive oil.

Line the tin with a sheet of filo pastry, allowing the surplus to fall over the side of the tin. You want to have flaps of pastry that you can fold over later. Depending on the size of the tin and the size of the filo sheets, you may have to lay the sheets in the tin ‘portrait’ way up rather than ‘landscape’. If you do this overlap the sheets, so that there is no way for the filling to seep out.

Repeat this 3 times, brushing each layer of filo with plenty of olive oil.

Now put the courgette mixture on top of the filo and then fold over the flaps, and cover the filling with another 4 or 5 sheets of filo pastry, tucking it in around the edges and brushing each layer, including the top one, with olive oil.

Pat the whole thing with a little water and with damp fingers push any surplus pastry into the sides of the tin, so that the pie is sealed.

Take a sharp, sightly wet knife and score the top of the pie, just deep enough to go through the first few layers of filo.

Sprinkle with sesame or nigella seeds and bake at 180 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, until the pie is crisp and golden.

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