Sunday, February 3, 2013

SPANAKOPITA (Spinach Pie)

Greece, this is a country I would love to visit one day.  It is definitely on my 'bucket list', I have been drawn to their food, their people, their sights and smells and beautiful blue ocean.   This recipe takes me back many, many years to  my very first 'permanent' job right out of College.  I started working at CP Rail (Canadian Pacific Railway) in Nelson, BC and enjoyed many jobs working my way to the top and with so many wonderful co-workers.  Imagine doing a payroll (manually) for 1500 people , yes that was before computers but I learned so many skills and made so many friends.  I was sad to leave but we were moving to Nakusp, BC - my husband was starting a new job.   We were on our first adventure together as a married couple.
I enjoyed every job I worked at and all the people I met and worked with.  The Spanakopita recipe is based on one from  my co-worker Helen (I wonder where she is today?) one day at lunch there was a an amazing aroma coming from the lunchroom, so I wandered there to find my friend and co-worker Helen warming up her 'leftovers' from her dinner the previous night. As I sat down to eat my lunch she explained to me what it was she was eating and then offered me a sample of her Spanakopita.  I had never heard of Phyllo ( fillo)  before and found it fascinating, so light and crispy.  The Spanakopita was delicious!  Helen shared her recipe with me and this is my version.  My family requests it quite often, our friends love it when I serve it along with a fresh Greek Salad and with leftover  Phyllo ( fillo) I  am able to serve a dessert of a 'fruit strudel -(what ever fruit I want to use ) along with this meal.....


SPANAKOPITA



 
 
 
Ingredients you will need.

Beat the eggs - you can cut the recipe in half very easily
  or make these in individual large cupcake pans.
 

Add the chopped, drained (well) spinach to the beaten eggs.
 
  Here the  dried oregano, freshly ground black pepper and
salt are added.

Mix in the crumbled feta cheese and sauteed onion (cooled) and set aside

 You will find Phyllo ( fillo) in the freezer section with the pastry
 defrost in fridge and then when ready to use place on counter,
cover with a damp towel and proceed to oil/butter.

I use extra virgin olive oil for my Spanakopita, I
drizzle some onto a sheet

Then use my hand to spread it over the whole sheet

 You will continue to drizzle olive oil on at least 6 sheets

 Add your spinach/feta mixture to the oiled Phyllo ( fillo) and
 continue oiling another 4-6 sheets of Phyllo ( fillo)  to cover the filling.

Make sure your top sheet of Phyllo ( fillo) is well greased
so that it will brown nicely.
 Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 40-50  minutes.
 If the top is getting too brown just lay a piece of foil over
top (gently) and continue to bake until the
center pierced with a knife comes out clean.

The Spanokopita is ready.  Beautiful, fragrant and
ready to be served. 

  The spinach shows beautifully and the feta has melted
Serve with a fresh Greek Salad and garlic bread if you like.
Enjoy!
 
 
SPANAKOPITA RECIPE
 
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry.
or 2 lb fresh spinach, chopped, cooked and drained.
1/2 - 3/4 package Phyllo ( fillo) (or 12 sheets)
6 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 onion, chopped and sauteed
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
 2- Tbsp. dried oregano
 
  In a large bowl,  beat eggs and add salt,  black pepper and oregano.
Saute chopped onion in 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Let cool slightly. Add drained chopped spinach
 and crumbled feta cheese to the egg mixture and mix until combined.
Set aside.
Take your Phyllo ( fillo) and lay it on your counter and drizzle some olive oil over top
rub or brush over the whole sheet and lay into greased 9  x 13 inch  pan.
Continue with 5 more sheets of Phyllo ( fillo) - greasing and layering.
Add the egg/ spinach mixture and continue topping with 6 more sheets of Phyllo ( fillo)
that you have  oiled and layered.  Make sure the top is well oiled for nice browning.
Place into a 350 degree oven and bake
for 40-50 minutes.
If the top is becoming too brown just place a piece of foil over top (do not seal)
 and continue to bake until done.
 
 
With the leftover Phyllo ( fillo) you can make a very nice
Strudel for dessert - see below
 
Pear/Raisin Strudel before it has gone into the oven.

All baked, golden brown and crispy.


PEAR/RAISIN STRUDEL
 
 
Pear/Raisin Strudel Recipe (Pam's version)
Onto a  baking sheet, place one sheet of Phyllo ( fillo) and butter with melted butter
Continue until all sheets are used up.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of oatmeal combined with 2 tsp cinnamon onto
the last buttered Phyllo ( fillo) sheet.
Take 3 ripe pears and remove pits and stems (I don't peel them) and slice thinly
on top of the oatmeal mixture (near the end of the Phyllo ( fillo) sheet)
Sprinkle with 1/8 cup raisins, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 2 Tbsp brown sugar.
Fold in the ends of the Phyllo ( fillo) over top of the  pear filling and roll up 'jelly roll' style
 Butter the outside of the Phyllo ( fillo) roll, sprinkle with 1 tsp of brown sugar and bake at 350 for approximately 20-30 minutes.
Slice and enjoy with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
 
Note:  I will use apples, peaches or any fruit that I see
needs to be used, in my strudel....always a treat and no
leftover Phyllo ( fillo) to deal with.
 
 
 
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp,
 but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
 ~Nathaniel Hawthorne