Sorrel and Cornmeal Pie (Aradopita)
All over the north, from Epirus to Alexandroupoli, savory pies abound. Most call for phyllo, either homemade or commercially prepared, but many also call for a crust of cornmeal. They go by various names, can be found in similar renditions all over the region and were an easy solution for the daily dinner table, at once healthful, filling and much less time-consuming than pies that require layer after layer of hand -made phyllo pastry.. Corn is cultivated widely in northern Greece, especially in Xanthi, Serres, Larissa, and Ioannina.
- 2 pounds / 1 kilo sorrel toughest green stems trimmed
- 2 large leeks toughest upper green stems trimmed
- 10 fresh scallions trimmed and remainder chopped
- 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley washed and leaves coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh dill washed and finely chopped
- 1 Tbs. salt
- 1 ¾ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 2 cups fine white cornmeal
- 1 pound/½ kilo Greek feta cheese crumbled (about 3 cups)
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 1 to 1 ½ cups water
- 2 large eggs
Coarsely chop the sorrel and leeks. Combine the sorrel, leeks, scallions, parsley and dill in a large colander and sprinkle with the salt. Rub and knead the mixture, pressing it between the palm of your hand and the holes of the colander, until the greens and other vegetables exude their liquid. Do this for about 15 minutes. Squeeze the excess water out of the vegetables between the palms of your hands and place in a large bowl.
Preheat the oven to 190ο C/375ο F and put the rack in the center. Drizzle one cup of the olive oil over the greens in the bowl. Knead the greens with the oil until they wilt, for about 10 minutes. Add one cup of the cornmeal and the feta and mix all together.
In a medium-sized saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat until it begins to scald. Add the remaining one cup of cornmeal in a slow steady stream, stirring all the while so that it doesn’t lump. Season with a little salt. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a heavy batter. Remove from the heat.
Oil an 18 x 2 inch (45 x 5 cm) round or 18 x 12 x 2-inch (45 x 30 x 5 cm). deep baking pan with olive oil. Spoon half of the milk-and-cornmeal mixture over the bottom of the pan, spreading it evenly. Spread the vegetable filling evenly over the batter and flatten out the surface with a spatula.
Dilute the remaining half of the batter with as much of the water as needed to obtain a thick but pourable batter, about the consistency of pancake batter. Pour this over the top of the filling spreading it as evenly as possible. Do not worry if the batter does not cover the entire surface of the greens. Beat together the eggs and the remaining olive oil and pour this, too, over the surface. Place on the center rack of the oven and bake for about 1 hour, or until the pie is dense and golden and the cornmeal crust is set. To serve, let the pie cool for at least 20 minutes.