With my lazy gardener traits I have an appreciation for pick-and-come-again greens. Lettuce, rocket, spinach, herbs and the queen of all, silverbeet. Seedlings planted once provide many months of fresh produce. Even better when they self-germinate around the garden from last season’s plants gone to seed.
If you are not a big fan of silverbeet, when you grow it you soon learn to be one. It is a consistent producer of vibrant leafy greens. A steady contender through the cooler months, and with more bulk once cooked than spinach it is my preferred choice for meals where I want leafy greens to be the hero.
Inspired by the popular Turkish street food gözleme, in this variation of these grilled bread pockets I skip the yeast and use a simple yoghurt dough that is a little less “bready” and all about the filling.
They can be stuffed with all manner of deliciousness, such as roasted pumpkin, pine nuts and feta; leftover vegetable curry; or cheese, grated carrot and chutney. Here I have combined my favorite garden green, herbs and halloumi. If you haven’t got halloumi use feta, or a mixture of grated cheese and parmesan.
* Recipe: Quince & cardamom pinwheel scones
* Recipe: Honey and spice slow-cooked quince
* Recipe: Sausage, fennel & white bean soup
Silverbeet & halloumi pockets
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Makes: 8 pockets
2 cups (300g) plain flour (or use a combination of white and wholemeal flours)
2 tsp baking powder
Sp tsp salt
¾ cup (180ml) natural yoghurt
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp milk
Silverbeet & halloumi filling
1 tbsp olive oil plus extra for cooking
½ brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano or mint
Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
400g bunch of silverbeet (see recipe for preparation)
200g packet halloumi, grated
About ⅓ cup natural yoghurt
1 garlic clove, finely grated or chopped
1 tsp olive oil
Salt to season
Pinch of dried oregano / mint and chilli flakes
Prepare the yoghurt dough so it can rest while making the filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Make a well and add the yoghurt and olive oil. Use a fork to whisk the yoghurt and oil together while gradually mixing in the flour into a “scruffy” dough. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together.
Tip onto a lightly floured bench and knead for 1-2 minutes until smooth. Invert the mixing bowl over the dough and leave to rest.
Make the filling. Warm the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, cumin, herbs and chilli, cook for a further minute until fragrant.
Meanwhile, wash the silverbeet leaves, shaking off the excess moisture. Finely chop the stalks and add them to the onion mixture, sautéing to soften.
Chop the leaves and add them to the pan, don’t mix. Cover with a lid for 5 minutes. The droplets of water remaining on the leaves will create steam to wilt the silverbeet. Remove the lid, turn up the heat and sauté until excess moisture has evaporated. Tip onto a plate to cool down.
Divide the dough into eight and roll each into a ball. Cover again with the bowl.
Grate the halloumi and add to the silverbeet mixture.
On a lightly-floured bench roll out one dough ball at a time into a round, about 15cm wide. Spoon 3 heaped tablespoons of the silverbeet mixture onto one half of the dough, then fold over the other half to create a crescent shape, pressing to seal. Repeat with the remaining filling and dough, cooking the pockets as you go.
Wash out the frying pan used for the silverbeet and reheat. Add a slick of oil and cook 2 pockets at a time – with a rotation of rolling, filling and cooking. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden – adjust the heat as needed so they don’t burn but keep it hot enough to cook the dough. Add a slick of oil to the pan as needed.
Combine the yoghurt sauce ingredients in a bowl, seasoning to taste.
The pockets are best eaten while warm served with the yoghurt sauce for dipping. They can also be cooled on a rack then reheated in a pan for a quick lunch.
Nicola Galloway is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author and culinary tutor.