Zeljenica

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From Vera Videnovich

 

[Says Vera: “Pita” is a generic term used to describe all these dishes: zeljenica = with spinach and cheese; sirnica  = with cheese; gibanica  = with cheese; burek (sa mesom) = stuffed with meat; krompirusa = stuffed with potatoes. Greeks also have a similar dish: spanakopita. It’s a peasant dish, and I don’t really make it the same way twice.”]

 
6 eggs (free-range preferred) + 1 egg reserved
1/2 lb feta cheese *
32 oz cottage cheese or ricotta
swiss chard** steamed and finely chopped
1 package phyllo leaves*** 
canola oil

Large baking dish with at least a 2″ rim.

Beat the eggs and add crumbled feta and cottage cheese. Gently stir in the steamed swiss chard.

Lightly oil the baking dish. Add two phyllo leaves, lightly brushing or sprinkling oil on each leaf.
Spoon the egg-cheese mix evenly over the phyllo. Add two more phyllo leaves, again adding oil to each leaf. Continue with the phyllo + egg-cheese layers until you run out, reserving one or two phyllo leaves for the top. Beat the reserved egg with a tablespoon of water and brush on the top, this will help keep the top phyllo layer from drying out and adds “texture.” 

Cover with foil and bake at 375F for about 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Baking times are approximate as you want to make sure the egg mixture is fully baked and depends on how many layers you make and how thick your phyllo or dough is.

* domestic feta cheese has less salt added. French feta is my favorite as it has a rich texture and flavor.
**swiss chard, sorrel, spinach, or kale can be used in this dish.

***yufka, lavosh or large wheat tortilla breads also work. 


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