Spanakopita | Spinach Pie For Daring Cooks

Blog-checking lines: The February Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Audax of Audax Artifex. The challenge brought us to Greece with a delicious, flaky spanakopita – a spinach pie in a phyllo pastry shell. I made spanakopita.

I don’t cook a lot of Greek food and I don’t have any recipe books that are dedicated to Greek food, but even so, I was quite excited to see something new for this months’ Daring Cooks challenge. I have only ever eaten spanakopita cooked in triangle shaped phyllo pastry parcels and I was looking forward to creating my own spinach filled parcels. However, I was a bit put off by the mandatory Items: Prepare spanakopita in the traditional method that is use uncooked chopped spinach, chopped fresh onions (at least two types), fresh herbs, a small amount of feta cheese with breadcrumbs (or similar) to keep the phyllo pastry shell dry during baking. Dave and I do not eat raw onions and usually before I use onions in any recipe, I sauté them off until nice and soft. I was really worried that the onions would not cook. There were some variations allowed: Any traditional recipe can be used so long as the filling is not cooked before baking the spanakopita and an ingredient (breadcrumbs or similar) is used to absorb the excess moisture given out by the filling during baking. I did not know where to start looking for a traditional recipe and I did not want to go out and buy a recipe book just for this one dish. Thankfully I paged through my copy of The World Encyclopaedia of Cheese that my friend Cindy gave to me and found a recipe for spanakopita in it. I was quite impressed with the fact that it was a one dish meal and I adapted it to suit the mandatory items list. The onions cooked off perfectly and the taste was amazing. Dave and I ate the entire spinach pie over two meals and even reheating it resulted in a great dish. I would serve this spanakopita as a side dish with some fish, or as a meat free meal any day of the week.

Spanakopita | Spinach Pie
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Spanakopita | Spinach Pie

Recipe Category: Vegetarian
All Rights Reserved: Adapted from The World Encyclopaedia Of Cheese page 230

Ingredients

  • 400 g baby spinach roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions sliced
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 150 g feta crumbled
  • 35 g micro leaf herbs
  • 45 mls bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 50 g butter melted
  • 8 sheets phyllo pastry

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190° Celsius
  • Place the spinach, spring onions, shallots, feta, herbs and bread crumbs into a bowl and mix
  • Add the eggs and mix in
  • Season to taste
  • Lightly brush an oven proof pie dish with some of the melted butter
  • Layer on a sheet of phyllo pastry and lightly brush with some of the melted butter
  • Repeat until you have used 4 sheets - offset each one so that the edges are at an angle to one another
  • Place the spinach mix into the pie dish and flatten
  • Top with a sheet of phyllo pastry and lightly brush it with some of the melted butter
  • Repeat until you have used three sheets
  • Turn in the edges of the phyllo pastry and lightly brush with some of the melted butter
  • Lightly brush the last phyllo sheet with butter and scrunch up and place it on top
  • Spray lightly with water and bake at the bottom half of the oven for 25 minutes
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving

Notes

Place a damp cloth over the phyllo pastry sheets you are not using to keep them supple

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

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