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Friday
Jun272014

Spanakopita - Greek Spinach Pie

 

This is a family staple in our house. A gorgeous vegetarian meal and hit of iron and all the wonderful benefits of spinach. You could use two packets of frozen spinach to make this even quicker as the only time consuming part is prepping and wilting the spinach really. A great vegie hit for the kids, and adults.
I sometimes substitute the filo for puff pastry parcels when I have it as they adore that even more - follow the instructions and bake 220°C for 20 minutes having brushed the top with some beaten egg.

Pictured: Greek Spinach and Cheese Parcels

4 bunches English spinach or 2 large bunches silver beet - white stems removed, coarsely shredded, washed with water clinging to the leaves – wash well as sometimes there is a lot of dirt
2 tablespoon light olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g Greek feta, crumbled
200g ricotta
100g cottage cheese
finely chopped fresh dill (2tbsp) or dried dill (1tbsp)
4 eggs
packet filo pastry
Ligh olive oil for brushing over filo – approx. ½ cup or more
Melted butter for the top of the pie(s)
Grated parmesan and sesame seeds for the top of pie(s) – approx. ¼ cup each

Preheat oven to 180°C. 
You can make either one large pie or lots of little parcels or snails. 
Place the spinach/silver beet in batches, with a splash of the oil, into a saucepan or large fry pan and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until it just wilts. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. Repeat with remaining.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium heat. - add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft.
Once spinach/silver beet is cool enough to handle, squeeze out majority of the excess liquid . 
Combine spinach/silver beet, onion mixture, cheeses, dill, and egg in a large bowl.
Place filo sheets on a clean work surface. Cover with a clean tea towel, then a damp tea towel (this will prevent it drying out). 
If making one large pie – cover a lasagne-sized dish with oil or butter. Brush 1 filo sheet with oil. Top with another sheet and brush with oil. Top with another sheet. Repeat with 8 or so filo leaves and lay this into a lasagne dish. You will repeat this for the top of the pie. Spoon silver-beet mixture into the dish and smooth the surface. Top with remaining filo stack. Fold edges over and press down firmly to enclose filling. You can use a small sharp knife to score the top of the filo diagonally or leave it as it is. Brush with remaining oil or a little melted butter for the top is nice. Grate over some parmesan and sprinkle on some sesame or poppy seeds.  Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes. Cut into slices to serve.
For small individual serves- brush half a sheet with oil and fold in half, brush the top of the half, repeat this with another sheet and place on top of each other – so you have 4 layers. Place a dollop of filling in the middle, approx. ½ cup, wrap the sides up and brush with oil as you go to stick the sides together. 
For a snail – make a stack of two sheets with oil brushed between, lay a thin line of filling along the long edge leaving a few cms around it from the sides and the bottom, roll up like a long cigar, tuck in the ends near the end of rolling, brush final bit with oil to seal, and roll up like a snail.
Sprinkle with oil/butter parmesan and seeds. These will cook in 25 minutes or so.
Kids adore rolling their own little snails or parcels, so this is a good one for kids in the kitchen, and a good way to get them eating spinach!
Makes 1 pie or 10 -12 parcels depending on size

Pictured: Spanakopita - Greek Spinach Pie