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Spinach, Rice, Feta & Lentil Filo Pie

This is my version of m’hanncha, a Moroccan filo pie which is rolled up and coiled. There’s nothing Moroccan about the filling, which is spinach, rice, brown lentils, feta and spiced caramelised onions. It’s basically the love child of a spanakopita and mujadara, but in the form of a m’hanncha – not sure if that description makes it more or less clear… Basically, it’s delicious, and you should try it. I served mine with a green salad, which is all it really needs given how many of the food groups are already inside it.

Spinach, Rice, Feta & Lentil Filo Pie

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Ingredients

  • 80g basmati rice
  • 80g green lentils
  • 2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large brown onions, peeled & diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 400g spinach
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 10 sheets of filo pastry
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 2tsp black onion seeds
  • 2tsp sesame seeds

Directions

  • Cook the rice and lentils separately according to the packet instructions, drain and set aside to cool.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan and add the onions. Cook, stirring frequently over a medium heat for a few minutes, then add the cumin, garam masala and coriander. Continue to cook them for 5-10 minutes more, until the onions are very soft, starting to brown, and really fragrant. Remove them from the heat and set them aside to cool.
  • Wash the spinach, then put it into a large pan with a generous splash of water. Cover and cook it over a high heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan from time to time. Once the leaves have all wilted, remove the pan from the heat, tip the spinach into a colander and really press/squeeze out the water so it’s as dry as possible. Then chop it roughly and put it into a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked rice and lentils, cooled onions, feta, lemon juice and chopped parsley. Mix everything together, then season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  • When you work with filo, you need to keep a damp cloth over it until the last minute, or it will dry out and crack when you try to fold/roll it. Lay out three sheets of filo, landscape, end to end, overlapping each other by about 2-3 inches. Brush them generously all over with the melted butter, so they stick together where they overlap. Then stack all but one of the remaining sheets of filo on top, with butter in between each layer, so that you end up with a long strip of pastry running across the worktop in front of you, three layers thick, and well coated with melted butter.
  • Evenly distribute the filling along the length of the pastry strip, stopping short of the ends by about a two inches. Press it to form a sort of sausage, then roll it up in the pastry, as though it were a sausage roll. Don’t roll it too tightly as you will need some slack when you come to coil it. Brush the exterior of the pastry with more melted butter, and roll it to be seam side down, so that it stays together. Now pinch the ends to keep the filling inside, then very gently curl the roll into a spiral – if it cracks in a couple of places don’t worry, that’s what the spare piece of filo is for! Just patch it up. Once it’s in a spiral, carefully lift it into a greased, loose-bottomed 8inch cake tin. Scatter the black onion seeds and sesame seeds over the top, then bake at 190’c (convection) for 45 mins to 1 hour, until golden brown and crispy all over.
  • Carefully remove it from the tin, and leave it to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

NB: If you can’t be bothered with the coil, just line an 8 inch loose-bottomed cake tin with lots of overlapping sheets of filo, leaving a big overhang around the sides, then fill it up and bring the overhang up over the top to seal the filling inside. It’ll be just as delicious with none of the faff.