It’s Daring Cooks time again!
I cheated. We were given a recipe for Spanakopita with very specific instructions, but I had to make changes to accommodate some food sensitivities in our household. The challenge recipe prohibited the pre-cooking of the filling ingredients, instead giving all those alliums a hefty massage. But, mindful of who would be eating it, I precooked the onion, eschalot (shallot) and garlic. And left out the leek and dill. Check out the .pdf file (linked below) for the original challenge recipe.
The recipe here is just as I made it. And, even if I do say so myself, it was great!
While we’re here… you may have noticed those little icons over there at the top of the sidebar. Yep, after nearly three years of blogging, I have finally dipped my toes into the world of social networking! I’m on facebook, google+, pinterest, tumblr and bloglovin. There’s not a lot there yet, but I’m getting there! I’d love it if you’d follow me somewhere – I promise not to lead you too far astray 😉
Serves 4 – 6
1 large red (Spanish) onion, chopped
1 large eschalot (shallot), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
700g (1 1/2 lb) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 large spring onion (scallion), light green and white parts, finely sliced
4-5 sprigs flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
good pinch nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
250g (a bit more than 1/2 lb) whole milk ricotta
200g (a bit less then 1/2 lb) feta, crumbled
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
12 – 16 sheets phyllo (depending on size)
olive oil for brushing
Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). Oil a 2 litre (2 quart) shallow casserole or baking dish.
Heat a splash of oil in a skillet and cook the chopped onion, eschalot and garlic just until translucent. Set aside to cool.
Place the thawed spinach in a large bowl – don’t drain it! Add the onion mixture to the spinach, along with the sliced spring onion and chopped parsley, plus the nutmeg and plenty of black pepper. Stir together well.
Stir in the ricotta and crumbled feta, then the beaten egg. Season with salt to taste.
Working in a couple of batches, stir in enough breadcrumbs to thicken the mixture. The liquid content of the spinach will determine how much you use. Set filling aside.
Line the casserole or baking dish with two sheets of phyllo, making sure to leave some overhang, and brush generously with olive oil. Repeat three more times for a total of eight sheets (you don’t need to oil the last pair). Make sure to keep the other sheets covered with a clean towel while you work, so they don’t dry out.
Scoop the filling in and spread it out evenly.
Fold the overhanging phyllo over the filling and brush well with oil.
To cover the top, my phyllo sheets were the perfect size to fold in half, so I used four – you may need to use more depending on size. Again, brush every second layer with oil, and finish with a good coating over the top. Tuck the edges in as best you can.
Use a very sharp knife to score the phyllo almost all the way through – this will make it much easier to cut when cooked.
Place on the middle shelf in the oven and bake for around 45 minutes, until browned. You can check the filling by inserting a small sharp knife – the filling should feel set and the blade of the knife should come out hot.
Allow to cool for at least ten minutes before serving hot, or cool completely.
Blog-checking lines: The February Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Audax of Audax Artifex. The challenge brought us to Greece with a delicious, flaky spanakopita – a spinach pie in a phyllo pastry shell.
Download the .pdf here.