Wild Fennel and Leek Pies (Μαραθόπιτες με Πράσα)

What better than pies filled with the foragings from your Sunday Volta.  A very traditional recipe this one, but again, a bit fiddly.

Fennel and Leek Pies (Small)

To clean your fennel, choose only the freshest, most tender shoots.  Try to use no later than the next day after cutting, otherwise it can be stringy and chewy.  Discard the thicker, tougher stalks.

Fennel (2) (Small)

Ingredients

Pastry

500 gr plain flour

1/4 glass olive oil

1 soup spoon lemon juice or raki

3/4 to 1 1/2 glasses tepid water

Salt

Filling

300 gr cleaned fennel

4 large onions

300 gr leeks

A generous 1/2 glass olive oil

S & P

Procedure

Put the flour into a bowl and make a well.  Add the lemon juice or raki, salt and olive oil and stir lightly with your fingers.  Add the tepid water in splashes, mixing until  you have a stiff dough.  You may not need all of the water, depending on the quality of your flour.  Turn on to the sideboard and knead till smooth.  Put into the bowl again, cover with a cloth and leave to rest for at least half an hour, whilst you fix your filling.

Fennel and Leek Pies (1) (Small)

Wash the fennel and dry on a towel.  Chop as finely as you can and throw into a large pan with olive oil in the bottom.  Chop the leeks finely and add to the pan.  Zap the onions to a mush in the blender and add to the other ingredients, add S & P.  Cook on a gentle heat for about 1/2 an hour, the mixture will catch easily, so keep an eye on it.  Stir continuously, at the same time, mashing the mixture with the edge of your stirring spoon.  Fennel is quite tough, even when you choose the tender fronds, so keep mashing it with your spoon, to break down the fibres.

When you`re satisfied it has mashed down and is cooked, start rolling your pastry.

Divide your pastry into four balls and roll as thinly as you can. Cut around a plate approx. 18/20 cm across, as many as you`re able.  I can usually roll this pastry without flour on the board, but if you try to place the filling on the pastry before loosening the pastry from the board, it could pull the pastry apart, so lift it from the board and move away from your rolling area to a floured area.

Fennel and Leek Pies (3) (Small)

Spread a thin layer of the cooled mixture over the pastry, leaving a couple of centimetres around the circumference, which you dampen with a little water and place another cut pastry circle over the top, gently push to join the edges and press with the prongs of a fork.

Fennel and Leek Pies (2) (Small)

Fry in medium hot olive oil, turning to brown on both sides.  Place on kitchen roll to absorb excess oil. Serve hot or cold.

Fennel and Leek Pies (4) (Small)

These quantities should make about 5 large pies.

Enjoy!