Greek Spinach and Feta Pie (Spanakopita)

>> Monday, February 25, 2013


Greek Spinach and Feta Pie (Spanakopita)

If there is anyplace in the world we'd like to travel to and haven't visited yet, it would be Greece, home of Western civilization. Although Spain would be amazing, too. And Australia. Oh, it's time to pack our suitcases and get on the road. Winter in Chicago makes me long to bake under a hot sun on a blanket by Greece's "wine-dark sea", as Homer called it.

Instead, we are making spanakopita pie and turning up the heat. You've probably seen these as little triangles, too, and bite-sized appetizers. This recipe is from my friend and fantastic chef Talea Bloom. She made this for a Greek friend once, and the friend liked it even better than her Greek mother's recipe! Joe and I added mint, a common Greek seasoning, to the spinach mixture, to give it a little sparkle.

We did NOT make our own phyllo dough, though we do have recipes for it. Take my word for it, it's rather time-consuming to make and there are plenty of good frozen varieties out there. There's such a thing as taking authenticity too far.

Ingredients

Pastry:

1 roll phyllo, at room temperature
4 tbsp melted butter for brushing onto phyllo between layers

Spinach filling: 

2 lbs baby spinach-chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3 green onions-finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic-finely diced
1 red onion- finely diced
1/4 cup fresh dill - finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh mint - finely chopped
8 -12 oz. feta (you may play with this amount to taste)
1 tbsp hot pepper flakes
½ tsp grated Nutmeg
Zest and juice of half a lemon (1 tbsp lemon juice)
3 eggs – beaten (for mixing in)
1 egg – beaten (for brushing pastry before baking)

Directions

Heat pan, add olive oil, green onion, garlic and red onion. Saute over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until translucent and fragrant. Add lemon juice and zest as well as spinach. Stir to combine. Continue sauteing until all spinach has wilted. Pour this mixture into a colander and let drain.

Preheat oven to 375 F. In the meantime combine all other ingredients in a large bowl. 

Brush the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish or baking pan with plenty of butter. You may also substitute cooking spray for this. Place 1 sheet of phyllo on the bottom, brush with melted butter, add next sheet. Repeat until you have 10 sheets layered in this way.

Next, spread the spinach/cheese mixture evenly over the pastry and repeat layering technique. Brush top layer with beaten egg and bake the pie in a 375 F oven for 45 minutes until the top of pie is golden brown and crispy.

To my surprise this pie paired really well with Malbec.

Serves 4-6.

2 comments:

Talea Bloom,  February 25, 2013 at 2:47 PM  

I'm so glad you like this :-)
Looks fantastic!

Angela Williams Duea February 26, 2013 at 2:40 PM  

Oh my, it's so goooood! Now let's fly away to Greece. I've had enough snow.

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