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Beet Greens and Feta Phyllo Pockets with Yogurt Dill Dip

(recipe, Ivy Manning)


In Greek, this dish is called as hortapita. This recipe is from Ivy Manning's story on leafy greens, "Top of the heap."


    For the phyllo pockets
    1. ⅓ cup white rice
    2. 4 oz. baby spinach
    3. 2 bunches beets with greens, about 1½ pounds each
    4. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    5. 1 large onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
    6. 6 to 8 oz. feta cheese
    7. ⅓ cup fresh, chopped dill, or 1 tablespoon dried dill
    8. 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
    9. ½ tsp. nutmeg
    10. Salt and freshly ground pepper
    11. 1 egg
    12. ½ cup butter, melted
    13. ½ lb. phyllo dough, defrosted
    For the yogurt dip
    1. 2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
    2. 1 medium garlic clove, mashed to a paste
    3. 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried dill


    1. Combine the rice and ⅔ cup cold water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Pour rice into a large bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool.
    2. Cut the beets away from the greens and reserve for another use. Cut the stems off of the leaves and discard. Tear the leaves away from the tough rib that runs up the center of each leaf and reserve. Plunge the leaves into a large bowl of cold water and swirl so dirt on leaves sinks to the bottom. Scoop the leaves out of the bowl, change water and repeat. Chop the leaves roughly and dry them in a salad spinner or colander.
    3. Finely chop the ribs from leaves. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or wok over medium high heat. Add the onion and leaf ribs and cook until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
    4. Reduce heat to medium, add the beet leaves and toss with tongs to coat the leaves with oil, cook for 5 minutes. Add the spinach, toss and cook until spinach just wilts. Transfer the mixture to a fine meshed sieve or colander and press with a spatula to extract as much moisture as possible. Mix the drained greens together with the rice and refrigerate for 10 minutes to cool. Stir in the feta, dill, Parmesan, nutmeg, and egg. Season with salt and pepper.
    5. Unwrap the phyllo dough on a clean counter. Pick up two sheets of phyllo dough and lay them in a stack in front of you horizontally. Cover the remaining unused dough with a clean dishtowel to prevent it from drying out.
    6. Pick up the right half of the top phyllo sheet, as if turning the page of a book. Lightly brush the bottom sheet with butter, lower top sheet onto buttered sheet and press gently to seal the right side of the sheets together. Repeat with the left side of the phyllo sheet. Cut the dough into four 3½-inch wide vertical strips.
    7. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling on the bottom left corner of one strip. Fold the bottom edge upwards, lining it up with the edge on the right hand side to make a triangular pocket. Fold the pocket upwards, then to the left and so on, as if folding a flag. (A diagram of the folding process may help.) Repeat with remaining strips.
    8. Place pockets on a cookie sheet and brush lightly with butter. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Transfer baking sheets to oven and bake the pockets until they are golden brown, 40 minutes. (The pockets can be prepared ahead at this point and frozen on cookie sheets until solid. Transfer frozen pockets to a sealable plastic bag, and use within 3 months. To bake, defrost the pockets at room temperature for one hour and bake as directed.)
    9. To make the dip, whisk together the yogurt, garlic, dill, salt, and pepper to taste, and serve dip alongside the hot phyllo pockets.