These Israeli Butternut Phyllo Spirals are a favorite Thanksgiving appetizer. It’s an inspired recipe from Israeli cookbook, Honey & Co. at Home. Everything I’ve made from this book has been phenomenal (like the artichokes baked with white wine, thyme & lemons). Grated butternut squash is sautéed with spices, then mixed with feta as a filling for phyllo spirals. It’s a special appetizer fitting for colder weather gatherings.
Makes about 20
israeli butternut phyllo spirals
1 packet of phyllo pastry
100g olive oil or melted butter, for brushing
for the filling
4 tablespoons olive oil
a 2-inch cinnamon stick
1 small whole dried chili or a pinch of chili flakes
2 long shallots, peeled and chopped
1 butternut squash (about 600-700g), peeled and grated
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
60g feta, crumbled
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick and chili, followed by the chopped shallots. Fry about 1 minute before adding the grated butternut squash and salt. Stir around and cook until the butternut softens. This will take about 10 minutes.
Stir in the ground cumin and coriander, then fry for 30 seconds before removing the pan from the heat. Add the chopped sage and honey, and mix well. Allow to cool before removing the cinnamon and whole chili (if using). Stir in the crumbled feta.
Heat your oven to 425F and line a baking tray with parchment.
Open the phyllo packet and arrange the phyllo sheets on your work surface.
The Honey & Co. cookbook arranges the butternut filling along the short edge of the rectangle then rolling into shorter snakes, but a few Thanksgivings ago, my family decided they preferred arranging the filling along the longer side of the rectangle to former longer, thinner snakes. Your preference.
Brush olive oil or butter onto the top sheet of phyllo. Spoon a few spoonfuls of the butternut filling along either the long or short edge of the rectangle. Roll up the top sheet loosely around the filling to form a snake. Then roll up the snake into a spiraled “snail” and place on the lined baking sheet. Continue filling and rolling the remaining phyllo sheets and filling. Brush the remaining butter or olive oil on the tops of the spirals. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden all over. You can also keep the spirals in the fridge for up to 24 hours before baking.