It’s a good thing to start new traditions… I am a very family-oriented person and I love family gatherings. However, my family is spread all over and we no longer get-together as a family like we used to. You see… we used to gather every holiday in my grandma’s house – Xmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 3 Kings Day… but now that she’s no longer with us, people don’t see the need to get together as a family anymore.
I invited my mom, my uncle, my aunt and her husband to my house for a Thanksgiving lunch. Lunch is what we always celebrated together… but everyone already had plans so it was only my mom and I this year. This is a new family tradition – vegetarian Thanksgiving lunch @ Madelyn’s.
My aunt gave me 2 large pumpkin pieces a few days back and I decided this Thanksgiving would be a study in pumpkin, if you will. Titi Carmín might have been busy doing her thing, but she was all over this Thanksgiving dinner…
This recipe was inspired by a recipe I saw in The New York Times… but I adapted it to make it with the ingredients I had available at home. I was not going to be a slave to running to the grocery store at the last minute to make something by a recipe. So I urge you to also tweak this recipe to fit your taste and the ingredients you might have available.
PUMPKIN AND SPINACH PHYLLO PIE
1 cup pumpkin, cut into small pieces ½ cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry 1 leek, cleaned well and chopped 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1/2 cup lightly toasted walnuts, chopped 1 small tart apple, peeled and cut into 1” pieces, like Granny Smith 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled ½ cup 4 cheese blend of grated cheeses Extra virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground pepper 2 thyme sprigs, leaves removed 3/4 pound phyllo dough, thawed and at room temperature (more if needed)
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and oil the foil. Place the pumpkin on the baking sheet and season with salt, pepper, olive oil and a few thyme sprigs. Place in the oven. Bake until tender, 30 to40 minutes. Every so often, turn the pieces over so they brown on most sides. Remove from the oven and transfer them to a bowl to cool. You can do this the day before if you want.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add the leeks. Cook, stirring, until leeks are tender and just beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Add the apples pieces and the spinach. Cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Turn the heat off and add the pumpkin. Stir to combine and to warm the pumpkin if you cooked some time ahead. Stir in the walnuts, goat cheese, and grated cheese blend. Set aside.
3. Brush a pie pan or small glass pyrex pan with olive oil and line the bottom with parchment. Brush the parchment with olive oil.
4. Unroll the phyllo dough. Keep it covered with a damp towel. Take a sheet of phyllo and place it on your work surface. Brush lightly with olive oil and place another sheet on top. Fold the two layers in half. Place on the bottom of your pan, don’t mind any overhang. Add your filling over the phyllo sheets. Bring any overhang of phyllo to top the filling. Cover the filling with a few additional phyllo sheets that have been brushed with olive oil just like the first ones. No need to be super careful, the last phyllo sheet I like to crumble on top to give it a rustic look.
5. Bake on the middle rack of a large oven at 400F for 50 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
I make this on my toaster oven where the coil is very close to the pie top. So if you find the top is browning too fast, just place a loose sheet of aluminum paper on top to avoid any over browning. In my toaster oven this cooked for only 25-30 minutes.
You can serve this hot or warm.
I usually go Italian for my Thanksgiving menus – making lasagnas, risottos or polentas in past years. So it was refreshing for me to go the Greek route this year. I might have to do this again… this was delicious and very easy to make.