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Sunday YumDay: Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie Recipe)

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In honor of my family’s trip to the yearly Greek Festival, I decided to post a yummy recipe for Spanakopita, which is a Greek Spinach Pie of sorts. When I first described it to my kids, 6 and 10, they turned their noses up and said ‘heck no’. Truth be told, we had to drag them into the festival to begin with, so trying strange food with funny names was not high on their ‘to-do list’ that day.

We ordered plates of Pastitsio, Greek Green Beans and Spanakopita, which also came with a greek salad and warm rolls. They noticed it looked a lot like the spinach dip we get at a local restaurant and decided to give it a shot. They devoured it! So, like any good mom I decided to recreate one of the few recipes involving dark leafy greens that my kids will actually eat.

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This yummy dish is a mix of flaky pastry crust, spinach, cheese, egg, onion and olive oil, and it is delicious!

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie Recipe)

Ingredients

Pastry

1 lb phyllo pastry
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil, approximately

Spinach Filling

1⁄4 cup olive oil
2 lbs spinach, cleaned, tough stems removed (if using frozen spinach you will need two packages)
8 spring onions, cleaned, sliced in 1/4 inch lengths
1 medium red onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh dill, minced
1⁄2 lb feta cheese, crumbled
3 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onionsuntil translucent (2-3 minutes). Add the spinach and saute until the leaves have wilted and the liquid has cooked off (8-10 minutes).
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool somewhat. When cool enough to handle, finely chop the spinach and place in a large bowl.
    Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  3. Lightly oil (always use olive oil!) a 12 inch in diameter, metal baking pan or a 10 x 15 inch rectangular baking pan.
  4. Add dill and feta cheese to the spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste (go easy on the salt). Pour the eggs over and stir until well mixed.
  5. Open up the phyllo pastry and lay it out flat, cover with a damp cloth. Keep a damp cloth on the phyllo while you are preparing the pie to keep the dough from drying out.
  6. Layer the phyllo in the pan, allowing the edges to hang over the sides of the pan, brushing each phyllo layer generously with olive oil.
  7. Use about half the phyllo sheets to make the bottom pastry layer, allowing excess pastry to drape over edge of pan.
  8. Pour in the spinach and press the top down gently to smooth filling. Tuck in the pastry draping over the edges.
  9. Repeat layering with the remaining phyllo, oiling each sheet generously.
  10. Using a sharp knife, score the upper layers of pastry into the size pieces you will want to serve once the pie is baked – BE CAREFUL NOT TO CUT THROUGH BOTTOM PASTRY.
  11. Bake the pie in the middle of the oven for approximately 40-45 minutes until it is golden brown. For the last 15-20 minutes, move the oven rack to the very bottom to help the pastry crisp.

Allow this dish to cool down before serving. While the flavors blend together during the cooking process, the magic happens once the dish is just above room temperature. Cut into servings and serve either just warm or at room temperature.

Note: If your spinach filling appears to be too ‘wet’ you can take 2 of the phyllo sheets and use them as a ‘layer’ between the spinach filling; these sheets absorb the extra liquid (as long as they aren’t brushed with oil).

*** Original recipe is from Food.com, but some ingredients have been changed/omitted by me during experimentation (Not a fan of leeks). You can find the original recipe here. Pic is from Taste.com.

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