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October 22, 2010: Spanakopeta (Spinach Pie)

October 22, 2010

Last night I made dinner for Chris and Sara. I/we made:

  • Baked Chicken Breast with Tarragon Velouté
  • Spanakopeta (Baked Spinach Pie)
  • Carrottes a l’étuvée
  • Pilaf with Cranberries (Chris made this-very good!)
  • Mango-Apple Sorbet (Chris made this-AWESOME!)

When I spent my first year after college, in Washington D.C., I spent lunches trying spanakopeta (Greek Spinach Pie) at just about ev-er-y Greek take-out place in town (and there were a lot back then!) Each owner insisted that their spanakopeta was the best, and while they were all delicious, none were quiiiiite perfect, in my book. Mostly, they were a little too oily and somewhat flat for my taste. Also, I like my spanakopeta with more cheese and less fat than what they served. So, over the years I have perfected my recipe.

Spanakopeta

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tblsp. Butter+4 Tblsp. Olive Oil
  • 6 Eggs (beaten)
  • 8 Oz. Feta Cheese
  • 24 Oz. Cottage Cheese (I prefer Hoods-it’s creamier than most)
  • 2 Packets of 10 Oz. Chopped (defrosted) OR 8oz. fresh Spinach
  • 1/2 Spanish Onion (chopped fine)
  • 8 Oz. Phyllo Dough (defrosted in fridge for a day)
  • Spices: 1 Tblsp. Salt; 1/4 Tsp. Pepper, Oregano, Basil, & Dill Weed

Make the filling first. Sautee onion in 2 Tblsp. olive oil until soft. Cool. In a large bowl, beat eggs, add cottage cheese. Crumble feta fine and add to cheese. Squeeze water from chopped spinach (OR fresh spinach) and add to cheese. Add onion. Mix. Put cheese mixture aside.

Melt butter and add olive oil. Grease a 8″ x 14″ x 2″ Pyrex pan with the fat mixture on bottom and sides.

Now comes the hard part…working with phyllo dough. The dough usually comes with a plastic wrap. Use this and/or a dry towel to cover the phyllo dough after you unroll it. Here’s the thing: phyllo dough dries out FAST. Too much air and the dough dries out and the sheets stick together. Any moisture, and the sheets stick together. So you have to work FAST and replace the towel after you take sheets from the pile. Take 3-4 sheets at a time, lay them into the pan, and use the butter/oil mixture to coat. It’s best to “tack” the corners and the edges first, then butter the middle. Repeat until you have gone through half of the sheet. Add the cheese mixture and level out. Return to adding the sheets of phyllo until done. Tuck corners down and butter again. Slice diagonal slits in top sheets with a very sharp knife. Top with a sprinkling with dill weed and/or Herbes de Provence and/or French Thyme. Bake at 300°F on an upper rack or about for 1 hour and 15 minutes. When done the top and bottom are a nice dark caramel coloring. Rest for about 10 minutes. Cut with a very sharp, serrated knife into sections.

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One comment

  1. Wow, this is mouth watering . I must make this ASAP. Like this sunday.

    You totally rock ,Mr. Vedder.

    Toodles,

    Kathy



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