Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spanakopita-Greek Spinach Pie with Feta

I love Mediterranean cuisine. Most of the Mediterranean dishes I tried can be made ahead of time and kept frozen for later use. If you make this as a family, as we do, it would provide you with some excellent bonding time too. You can share the work and do it in an assembly line fashion, while talking to each other.
Typically this Greek snack is made in the triangle form (like the Indian Samosas), or made in a pan and cut into squares (like Baklava or Lasagna). But  I made it into the roll form as it is easier to make and eat.

Recipe adapted:
1 lb spinach, chopped (I used  frozen, thawed and squeezed out of all water)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onions, diced
1 bunches green onions, diced (incl. 4 inches green)
1/4cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped (substitute 3 tbsp. dried)
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 green chilli minced fine (optional)
1 cup. feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup. ricotta or cottage cheese
1/8 cup butter, melted
1/8 cup olive oil
18 sheets phyllo pastry
Wash and drain the chopped spinach very well. If using frozen spinach, thaw completely and squeeze out excess water. Spinach should be dry.
Heat the olive oil in a deep saute pan or large dutch oven. Saute the onions and green onions until tender. Add the spinach, parsley,chilli and dill and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the spinach is wilted and heated through. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
If using frozen spinach, you will want to cook until excess moisture evaporates. Spinach mixture should be on the dry side.
Remove from heat and set the spinach aside to cool.In a large mixing bowl, combine the feta, eggs, and ricotta (cottage) cheese. Add the cooled spinach mixture and mix until combined.Combine the melted butter with the olive oil in a bowl. Carefully remove the Phyllo roll from the plastic sleeve.Take one sheet at a time,to prevent the rest from drying, cover with wax paper and a damp paper towel while working with the other.Fold the phyllo sheet length wise thrice to to get a three-fold rectangular piece.Apply the melted butter and olive oil mix well using a brush. Place  about one or two tablespoon of spinach mix at one end of the prepared phyllo sheet and roll the sheet with the filling inside into a almost tight roll. Place this on a baking sheet with the seem side down. Brush a little of butter olive oil mix on top of the roll.Repeat with the rest of the sheets.Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until the pita turns a deep golden brown. If the pita is frozen when you put it in the oven, you will need approximately 45 minutes cooking time. If fresh, plan for approximately 20 minutes of cooking time.


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