Ioannina

Tsouknidopita (nettle pie)

Traditional Epirotic filo-less nettle pie.
Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-Tsouknidopita (nettle pie)
Before cooking...

The nettle’s sting may be painful, but its taste is rather sweet, and its health benefits are invaluable. Also, nettles have always grown in heaps in the plains and the mountain slopes. That’s why nettle pies are typical in all mountainous regions. This easy-to-make version is a filo-less batter pie like so many pies of the traditional Epirotic cuisine.

Tsouknidopita (nettle pie)

Ingredients

Nettles grow literally everywhere, and you can pick them from February until May, depending on the region. To gather nettles for your pie, you should leave the city limits and carry garden gloves to avoid getting stung.

  • 1 kg nettles
  • 500 gr wild greens
  • 2 bunches of scallions
  • 1 kg corn flour
  • Olive oil (for the pan)
  • Water (as needed)
  • Salt (to preference)

Execution

  1. Wash the greens thoroughly. Soak them in water for a few minutes, change the water, and repeat 3-4 times until it’s clear. Rinse the greens well, dry them in a colander, and finely chop them.
  2. In a cooking pot, boil water and blanch the nettles for a few seconds.
  3. Put the greens in a bowl and season them well with olive oil.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the corn flour with salt. Slowly pour water and mix until you have a thick batter.
  5. Set the oven to “upper and lower heat” and preheat it to 180 °C.
  6. Brush a shallow baking pan with olive oil and spread the greens. Spread the batter evenly over the greens.
  7. Place the pan on the lower rack and bake for 1 hour (approximately) until the top is golden brown.
  8. Let the tsouknidopita cool for a bit and serve.

In the past, this filo-less pie was made in the traditional “gastra” (a heated dome covered with coals and ashes), the movable oven villagers and nomads carried around on their days-long travels. But however you bake it, it remains one of the most nutritious batter pies of the old-timey Epirotic cuisine.

After cooking…

On the edge of Anatoliko Zagori, next to the National Forest of Valia Calda, a unique village is cut in half by the rushing waters of Aoos River. Vovousa, named after the river’s roar (“voe” in Greek), consists of two beautiful neighborhoods that become one thanks to a traditional stone bridge. The arch bridge of Vovousa has connected the river’s banks and the locals’ lives for three centuries since 1748!

Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-After cooking…