Ally



Before life got too hectic, a group of us girls used to have a dinner club. We'd get together from time to time, pick a food theme and then each of us would pick a recipe that fit the theme. We'd bring our ingredients over to the designated host's home and then drink wine and chat while preparing our dishes. The last supper club we held consisted of a Greek / Turkish theme (yes both, since we couldn't decide on just one). Dishes that were prepared were a delicious pastitsio, yummy lamb koftas, a flaky pan of baklava and an overflowing platter of treats (dolmas, pita chips and a range of homemade dipping sauces- hummus, dill, tahini).  For my contribution, I decided to try my hand at spanakopita, a Greek spinach pie. It was the first time I had ever worked with phyllo dough and I ended up loving it. Not only did this recipe make it into my recipe box, but it's now one of Mr.S.'s favorite dishes.

* The recipe I use is from Chubby Hubby's blog with a few modifications. You can find the original recipe here: Chubby Hubby's Greek Spinach Pie. My version is listed below. The picture above is from the batch I made the night of dinner club.

Spanakopita

2 pounds fresh spinach
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese (I like the ones pre-mixed with Mediterranean herbs)
4 ounces large-curd cottage cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup dill, fine chopped
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper
14 sheets phyllo pastry (this can be found in the frozen pastry section of your supermarket)
2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

* Wash the spinach thoroughly and pull off any woody stems. Drain, but don't dry.
* Place the spinach in a large pot with about 3-4 T of water.
* Place the pot over a low flame, cover and allow the spinach to wilt, this will take about 5-6 minutes.
* Place spinach in a colander, press and drain off any excess water.
* Then put the leaves in a pan and cook over high heat, drying out the spinach.

* In a bowl, mash the feta and cottage cheeses together with a fork. Add in the eggs, spinach, dill, and nutmeg. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

* Find a baking tray or pan a little smaller than the sheets of pyllo. Brush it with the melted butter. Place half of the phyllo sheets, one on top of the other, at the bottom of the pan, brushing each sheet one at a time with the melted butter, letting the sheets come up along the sides.
* Spread the spinach mix evenly on top.
* Then cover with the remaining sheets, brushing each one individually, including the top one, with the melted butter.
* Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until crisp and golden.
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