Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spana What? Spanakopita! A Hearty Lenten Dish. (edited)





 Spanakopita is a great way to fit spinach in your meal plan, but it takes more prep than the dishes I usually post. 

 
 
Don't start till your filo sheets are defrosted.  Read the directions on the box and be delicate with your filo.  Cracked filo sheets are hard to work with and make a messy pita.

Also use silken tofu and drain any extra liquid.  To drain liquid, you remove the block of tofu from the box and place in a baking dish.  Place a plate in top and weigh it down with something like a can of soup.  Let it sit for 15 minutes.  (I forgot to take a picture of my tofu draining so I placed the container in the baking dish and took this picture later. I also regret using firm tofu.)



 
 
Saute 2 c chopped white  and 1 c chopped green onions and 3 chopped stalks of celery in a large pan.  Leeks are a great substitute.







When the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes) and add crumbled tofu and  1/4 c white wine.  Cook another 5-10 minutes.


 
In a large bowl, combine
  • 3 T parsley
  • 1 T mint
  • 3 T dill
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1 package of fresh pre-washed spinach (chop if you like but it's not necessary) and onion/tofu mixture.   



 

Pour 1 c olive oil in a bowl.  Brush olive oil on bottom of a large cake pan.  It's great if the baking dish is a bit smaller than the size of the filo sheet.  If not, trim the sheet so it sits in the dish and a tad along the sides.

Place a filo sheet in pan and lightly brush with olive oil.  Place another piece of filo on top of the first and brush again.  Repeat this process till you use 8 sheets of filo.




Spread 1/4 of the spinach mixture in the baking dish.  Place a filo sheet over the spinach and lightly brush with olive oil. Place another piece of filo on top of the first and brush again.  Repeat this step till all the spinach is used.  (The women in our parish place the filo sheets like a messy bed, to make a thicker pita.)




Place a filo sheet in pan and lightly brush with olive oil. Place another piece of filo on top of the first and brush again until all the filo is used.... about 10 more sheets. 



Generously brush olive oil on the final layer and chill in fridge for about 20 minutes.  This will firm the layers and make it easier to cut.  You must cut the pita before you cook it since the filo layers cook so crisply, it would just be a mess if you tried to cut it after it cooked. Two inch square pieces are good for sides, smaller pieces make great appetizers and larger pieces make great dinner portions.

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.


 
 
Splash a bit of cool water to the top layer before you bake the pita to avoid an overly flaky top. 
 



Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until top is nicely browned. 









 
 
 
 
 
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3 comments:

Shirley Bundros said...

this looks like a good recipe, Vassi - I may have to try it!

Vassi said...

It really is. I cut the onions into larger pieces than I normally would. And if you aren't eating dairy, the tofu is a great compromise. Just remember to salt the dish because you won't have the salty feta to flavor the spinach

Liz said...

I like the suggestion for using tofu. The tofu recipes I have taste much too bland. I think this one holds some real promise. Thanks!