Friday, October 24, 2008

Spanakopita - The Greek Pie

I come from a German/Irish background, growing up on dishes like Pork Hocks and Sauerkraut or Beef Pie.

Marrying into a Greek/French Canadian family has given me the opportunity to experience a wide range of new flavors and recipes. While butter seems common to both our backgrounds, the end results are very different yet wonderful in their own ways.

My personal greek favorite is Spanakopita, a spinach pie wrapped in buttery flakey phyllo dough and oh so delish!


3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs (or one bag) fresh spinach, washed, roughly chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs, beaten
12 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 tbsp coriander seeds, ground
1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper
8 tbsp (one stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 roll phyllo dough, defrosted
1/4 cup chopped oregano

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and saute both kinds of onions and garlic until soft and white. Remove from heat into a large bowl. In the same large skillet add spinach, salt and pepper. Saute the spinach until it is wilted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. In either cheese cloth or a kitchen towl, squeeze all liquid out from the spinach. Add to onion mixture with lemon juice, coriander, and nutmeg. After the mixture is cooled mix in the eggs and fold in the feta.

Unroll the phyllo dough onto a clean surface, with a damp towl covering the sheets so they do not dry out.

Take one sheet of phyllo and lay out on a dry surface. Brush the long sides with the melted butter. Place a large teaspoon of the filling at the end of the sheet in the middle. Fold the sides over and brush entire strip with more butter.

Sprinkle with oregano. Fold the end with the filling at an angle into a triangle as you would a flag.

Brush the top with butter and place on a nonstick baking tray. Repeat until all the filling is used up. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until the triangles are golden and crispy. Can be served hot, warm, or cold.

Note: This dish can be put together like a lasagna and served in squares also.

The triangles can be frozen on the trays and then placed in a freezer bag and stored for up to 6 months. Do not defrost frozen Spanakopita, but cook for 30-40 minutes.

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