Saturday, August 8, 2009

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

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Here's a classic dish of Greek cuisine... and a delicious one at that. Spinach and cheese are baked between buttery layers of phyllo and served like a pie. Awhile back, a friend of mine invited me over to learn how to make homemade phyllo dough. Needless to say, it was a painstaking task but the rewards were well worth it. Cat Cora's original recipe calls for making a dough but not exactly phyllo. You can prepare the original recipe as seen in the link below, but the shortcut is using packaged phyllo dough. Either way, this is a great dish to add to any Greek inspired dinner menu.

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
recipe adapted from Cat Cora


1 package of phyllo dough
1 stick of butter for brushing

Spinach Filling:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for greasing the baking pan
6 cups chopped onion (about 3 medium onions)
3/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
4 1/2 pounds fresh spinach (about 3 bunches), stemmed
2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
3 scallions (white and green), chopped
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the spinach filling: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the spinach, little by little (adding more as the previous batch wilts), and cook, stirring, until completely wilted. Season with the salt and pepper and stir in the parsley, dill, and scallions. Drain the spinach mixture in a colander in the sink and let cool.

To prepare your baking dish: Line the bottom of your baking dish with 3-4 few sheets of phyllo, making sure to butter each layer as you assemble. Then place 2 of phyllo off to one side of the dish so it hangs off the edge. Place 2 more phyllo off the edge of the other side.

Once the spinach is cool, stir in the feta and spread the mixture over the phyllo in the baking dish. Top the spinach with the remaining phyllo dough (continuing to butter each layer as you assemble), and pinch around the sides to seal. Roll the edges of phyllo that's hanging off the side of the dish towards the pan to create a rolled edge. Brush the surface of the dough with butter and egg wash, and bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven, let cool, cut into squares and serve.

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