These past few weeks have been fun – Alyse, my little sister, came to Seattle to visit for a week. That was incredibly fun b/c we did all the tourist-y things that N and I hadn’t done yet. So there was a lot of sight-seeing, hiking, eating, talking that took place – and I loved every minute of it!
Then N and I took a long weekend trip to San Francisco. It was our first time there and a 2 hour flight from Seattle. It was so fun – and so different than I imagined it in my head. I thought it would be a smaller city, with quirky, unique areas. But it turns out it is a metropolis and a really large city. So we did a lot of exploring and got to watch the America’s Cup which was really neat, visit the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore a few new eateries. All in all, a nice trip. Except. I spilled an entire cup of coffee on the rug in the hotel room. And no amount of scrubbing would get it out. I bought sprays and all night N and I scrubbed. To no avail. I’m worried I’m going to get a bill for a new carpet for the room – we stayed at a fancy hotel – so I imagine that won’t be cheap to replace. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen!
Onto the fun stuff now — this great recipe. I made this as an appetizer to the beef tagine recipe. I haven’t posted that yet – will do so in a few days. I found this recipe on pinterest — the original recipe file from Cooking Light is online here: hhttp://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spinach-pie-with-goat-cheese-raisins-pine-nuts-10000001932663/. If you like spanakopita or spinach quiche or sweet, salty combinations – then this the dish for you. Great as a starter – or a vegetarian main dish. Seriously good – good enough for guests or family alike.
I modified it slightly to include feta rather than goat cheese – although either would be delicious. What is great about this recipe is that it uses about half, if not more, of the traditional butter and/or oil in a normal spanakopita or spinach pie b/c for the bottom layers I followed the recipe instructions and used spray olive oil.
So onto the recipe instructions. First things first: here’s what you’ll need: olive oil, 1 small onion (half of a large), 3-10 ounce packages of frozen spinach, golden raisins, toasted pine nuts, feta cheese, salt, pepper, garlic, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice, phyllo dough, and cooking spray. I forgot to include the nutmeg & pine nuts in the pic.
Let’s start making this bad boy by preheating the oven to 400°.
Chop the onion into small pieces – about 1 cup chopped. The original recipe called for more – but I felt this was perfect. In a large pan – Heat 1 tablespoon of oilve oil over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until softened or slightly browned, stirring occasionally. Mince the 3 garlic cloves and add to the pan once the onion is almost cooked. Stir the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
If you’re using frozen spinach – thaw it out and dry the spinach. I mean, super dry it. If you have a cloth towel, take portions of the spinach and squeeze the thawed spinach to remove all excess water. Repeat for remaining spinach. Seems tedious – but believe me, if you skip this step your pie will be a mess.
Add your dry spinach to the onions and garlic, cook to warm the spinach through. No need to cook for a long time. Less than 5 minutes. Just make sure you break the spinach up so it’s not in large chunks.
Note: you can use fresh for this recipe if you’d prefer. Make sure to keep the spinach longer and to remove all excess water before adding in the following ingredients.
After the spinach, onions, and garlic are warmed through – stir in raisins. Remove from heat; cool completely. Stir in feta cheese chunks/crumbles, pine nuts, salt, pepper, 1 T. lemon juice and 2 t. lemon zest.
We’re almost done….not it’s time to assemble. First – spray the 8″ round cake pan with cooking spray.
Press 1 phyllo sheet into bottom and up sides of the pan coated with cooking spray (cover remaining dough to keep from drying); lightly coat phyllo with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with 7 phyllo sheets. Spread spinach mixture in an even layer onto phyllo. Place 1 phyllo sheet on a large cutting board or work surface (cover remaining dough to keep from drying); lightly brush with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil. Repeat procedure with the remaining 5 phyllo sheets and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Place phyllo layer over spinach mixture; tuck in sides to enclose spinach fully. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes.
Note: mine wasn’t perfect. What I did was I made mine “rustic” by tucking in the over-hanging phyllo dough sheets. And it worked perfect. Highly recommend you don’t fuss over perfection here – because when it bakes it will look great. I promise.
After 45 minutes — slice with a sharp knife and serve wedges. You can bake this dish as the original recipe calls for – in a 13″x9″ pan. I didn’t have one – so I went the round pan route. Whatever works for you!
I hope you enjoy this dish – I really liked it. It was the perfect combination of savory from the phyllo and spinach, tangy from the feta, sweet from the raisins, and crunchy from the pine nuts. Just delicious. Let me know what you think!
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 small)
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 3 (10 ounce) packages frozen spinach
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 8 ounces feta, chunked or crumbled
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 2 t. lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 12 – 16 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until softened and just browned, stirring occasionally. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Thaw and thoroughly dry the spinach – add spinach to the onion/garlic mixture cook 5 minutes or until spinach warms through, stirring frequently and breaking up large pieces of spinach. Stir in raisins. Remove from heat; cool completely. Stir in crumbled feta cheese, toasted pine nuts, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, and nutmeg.
- Press 1 phyllo sheet into bottom and up sides of an 8″ round cake pan or a 13″ x 9″ baking dish coated with cooking spray (cover remaining dough to keep from drying); lightly coat phyllo with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with 7 phyllo sheets. Spread spinach mixture in an even layer onto phyllo. Place 1 phyllo sheet on a large cutting board or work surface (cover remaining dough to keep from drying); lightly brush with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil. Repeat procedure with the remaining 6 phyllo sheets and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Place phyllo layer over spinach mixture; tuck in sides to enclose spinach fully. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes.