Europe Vegetarian Recipes

Classic Dish in Greek cuisine-Greek Spinach and Feta Spanakopita Recipe

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Vegetarian – Europe

Greek Spinach and Feta Spanakopita is a classic dish in Greek cuisine, known for its delicious combination of flavors and textures. Here’s a basic recipe to guide you through making this delightful dish:

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 1 pound (about 450g) fresh spinach, washed and chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped (you can also use parsley or a combination of both)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the phyllo layers:

  • 1 package of frozen phyllo dough, thawed according to package instructions
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or olive oil (for brushing the phyllo layers)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Filling:
    • In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent.
    • Add the minced garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
    • Add the chopped spinach to the pan. Cook and stir until the spinach wilts and most of the moisture evaporates.
    • Remove the pan from heat and let the spinach mixture cool for a few minutes.
    • Once the spinach mixture has cooled slightly, stir in the crumbled feta cheese, chopped dill, salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine.
  2. Assemble the Spanakopita:
    • Preheat your oven according to the phyllo dough package instructions (usually around 350°F or 175°C).
    • Carefully unroll the phyllo dough and cover it with a damp kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out.
    • Brush a baking dish with melted butter or olive oil to prevent sticking.
    • Place a sheet of phyllo dough in the baking dish, letting the excess hang over the edges. Brush the sheet lightly with butter or oil.
    • Repeat the process, layering and brushing each sheet with butter or oil, until you have about 6-8 layers.
  3. Add the Filling:
    • Spread the spinach and feta mixture evenly over the layered phyllo sheets in the baking dish.
  4. Layer and Seal:
    • Continue layering the remaining phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter or oil as before. Fold the excess hanging over the edges back over the top.
  5. Bake:
    • Brush the top layer with more butter or oil. Using a sharp knife, score the top layers into squares or diamonds, which will make it easier to cut later.
    • Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crispy.
  6. Serve:
    • Once the spanakopita is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.
    • Spanakopita can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or even a light meal. It’s delicious both warm and at room temperature.

Enjoy your homemade Greek Spinach and Feta Spanakopita!

Note: Phyllo dough can be delicate and prone to drying out quickly. Make sure to work efficiently and cover the sheets with a damp towel when not using them.

Cooking Time:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Bake the assembled spanakopita for about 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy.
  • The exact cooking time can vary based on your oven, so keep an eye on it starting around the 25-minute mark. The spanakopita should be crisp and golden on top when it’s ready.

Tips:

  1. Thawing Phyllo Dough: If you’re using frozen phyllo dough, make sure to thaw it according to the package instructions. Keep it covered with a damp cloth while you work, as it can dry out quickly.
  2. Handling Phyllo Dough: Phyllo dough is delicate and thin, so handle it gently to avoid tearing. When brushing it with butter or oil, use a light touch to prevent it from becoming soggy.
  3. Layering and Buttering: When layering the phyllo sheets, don’t worry if they’re not perfectly aligned. A slightly uneven appearance adds to the rustic charm of the dish. Ensure you brush each layer with butter or oil to achieve that flaky texture.
  4. Filling Distribution: Spread the spinach and feta mixture evenly over the phyllo layers, but leave a small border around the edges. This border will help seal in the filling and prevent it from oozing out while baking.
  5. Scoring the Top: Before baking, use a sharp knife to gently score the top layers of phyllo into squares or diamonds. This will make it easier to cut the spanakopita after baking without shattering the top layers.
  6. Golden and Crispy Top: Keep a close watch during the last 10 minutes of baking. You want the top to be a beautiful golden brown and crispy. If it starts browning too quickly, you can cover it loosely with aluminum foil to prevent burning.
  7. Resting Before Cutting: Once you take the spanakopita out of the oven, allow it to cool slightly before cutting. This helps the filling set and makes it easier to slice without everything falling apart.
  8. Customization: While the classic spinach and feta filling is traditional and delicious, you can also experiment with other ingredients like adding minced meat or different types of cheeses to suit your taste.
  9. Serving: Spanakopita is versatile and can be served warm, at room temperature, or even cold. It makes a fantastic appetizer, side dish, or even a light main course with a salad.

Remember, making spanakopita might take a bit of practice to perfect the phyllo layering technique, but don’t worry if it doesn’t look flawless the first time. The flavors will still be amazing! Enjoy your homemade Greek Spinach and Feta Spanakopita.

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