Friday, December 9, 2011

Home made Spanakopita

Today I made Spanakopita which are little Greek appetizers, if you have never heard of them before check out this link:

To make them I drained 1 pound of frozen spinach and squeezed out as much of the water as I could. Then I chopped 1 bunch of green onions, and sauted those in 1 tablespoon olive oil.

To the spinach I added salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, 1 large pinch garlic powder and 1 pinch of nutmeg. When the onions were soft I added the spinach and cooked for about 3 minutes. Then set the spinach aside to cool.

Next I whisked two eggs and measured out 16 oz. of Feta Cheese. After the spinach cooled I added the feta and just enough of the eggs to moisten the mixture.

Then came the fun part; I have never worked with phyllo dough before and was a bit apprehensive. When working with frozen phyllo you have to let it defrost in the refrigerator the day before, then when you unroll the phyllo out it has to have a damp towel kept on top of it or it dries out and gets brittle. Well I did all that and had no problems, it is not as hard to work with as I first thought.

I cut the sheet into 3 by 11 inch strips, then working carefully I laid out one strip at a time and brushed with melted butter. Then put in about 1/2 teaspoon of the spinach filling and folded up each one like a flag (Or for those of you who remember playing table top football with the piece of paper folded into a triangle you will know what I am talking about) put the filling 1 inch from the end and fold over then keep folding until you have a nice looking triangle, simple.

Then they bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until nicely browned. Here is the recipe that I followed with my modifications:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds spinach, (or 1 package frozen) washed and drained
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1Tablespoon dried parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large pinch garlic powder
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1 to 2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ box phyllo pastry sheets
Drain 1 package frozen spinach, set aside. Add olive oil to a large skillet, add scallions and sauté until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach to the scallions, along with the parsley, salt, pepper, garlic powder and nutmeg. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, and then remove from heat to cool. (This part can be done ahead and kept refrigerated).
Stir the feta and as much beaten egg to moisten the cooled spinach mixture.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.
Unroll the phyllo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn't dry out and become brittle. Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and re-cover with the towel. Use a pastry brush to brush a strip of phyllo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, and then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.
Brush the triangles lightly with butter, and then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot. (These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.)
Variation: Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, and spread 6 sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter, on the bottom. Spoon the spinach filling over the phyllo, then cover with 6 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each sheet. Score the top 3 sheets with a sharp knife. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is golden, let stand 15 minutes, then cut into squares and serve warm.
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It is neat how food is so comforting, but I have learned that the Holy Spirit is way more comforting than food but I sure am having fun cooking!

1 comment:

Ally said...

Now that was work! I've tried phyllo dough and haven't been real successful...I'm impressed! Ally :)