Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Made Swisschard-akopita

Good Day,

Last night I scrambled to make a good impression on all my new classmates by bringing a delicious dish to a potluck reading. My original plan was to make dumplings (which I have never done before, but always admired Sarah for) but none of my New Mexico grocery stores had the dumpling dough. I ended up leaving with Phyllo dough, and made a last minute switch to do Swisschard-akopita which worked out great!

As a kid I really hated Quiche and I think this would be a good option for any Quiche haters out there if you're looking to little by little get over your Quiche disgust (for me it's the texture! Barf!) Because this is densely packed with greens the eggyness just fades away. Also if you have pie crust phobia this dish might be a good alternative.

Spanakopita is a traditional savory greek pastry, which traditionally probably isn't so good for you (tons-o-butter+cheese), and the greeks normally eat it as a little snack for that reason. With slight modifications I think this dish is filling healthy and great with just a salad as green and hearty meal. I read somewhere that during high holidays the greeks often make this without any dairy, which I would also like to try, and for any Vegans out there would be a great option!

I got home and took a look at a recipe...Below is the recipe, and my modifications:

Ina Garten's Spinach Pie
2 yellow onions (I used 2 red onion, which made things nice and sweet)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt (I actually omitted this because cheese is so salty)
2 teaspoons pepper
3 (10 ounce) packages of frozen chopped spinach defrosted (I used 1 large bunch of colored brights Swiss Chard which I bought raw)
6 eggs
2 teaspoons nutmeg
6 cloves garlic minced (the recipe did not call for any garlic, but I love it)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (I think I used slightly less)
3 Tablespoons dry bread crumbs (Omitted)
1/2 pound good feta
1/2 cup pine nuts (I used chopped walnuts)
1/4 pound butter for the phyllo dough (I used a 1/4 cup of olive oil instead and it worked great)
6 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted (I used 8)

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

1) Chop 2 onions and saute them in 1 TBS olive oil until translucent and a bit brown, 8-10 minutes, and set them aside to cool a bit, add ground pepper.

2) Cook down your chopped greens in a TBS of olive oil. I used Swiss Chard and it worked wonderfully. Do not over cook them as they will spend ample time in the oven, just cook them down enough to where they are a bit tender, but their cores are still crunchy. 6-8 minutes or so. This made me think I'd like to make this with Kale or even Mustard greens at some point, and it seems like a good way to introduce your children to exotic greens that they normally wouldn't tolerate. If you are using the frozen spinach drain as much water as possible from it.

3) Combine your greens (cooked, or defrosted and drained) with the onions, 6 eggs (beaten), nutmeg, parmesan, minced garlic, feta, and nuts (pine, walnuts, or both!)

4) grease a pie pan, or any pan really, but i find the rounder the pan the better the top looks when you fold it over. gently handle the Phyllo dough, unrolling it, and placing the first sheet in the pan. Let the edges of the phyllo dough hang over the pan. Then gently brush on olive oil (with a brush, or your fingers) covering the whole bottom of the pan where the Phyllo Dough touches working your way out to the edges of the dough that hangs. Continue layering phyllo dough 6 sheets deep brushing olive oil on each layer.

5) Once you have 6 layers in your pan go ahead and pour your filling in. Depending on the size of you pan you may have enough filling for 2 pies.

6) lift the edges of the phyllo dough up and over the filling (It's okay if it doesn't cover the filling completely you can put 2 extra sheets on top to seal your pie.)

7) bake in the oven for an hour. You could bake it for 45 minutes if you're short on time, but the full hour really lets all the flavors set, and gives you a pie you can cut well.

8)Let the pie cool at room temp before serving, and refrigerate leftovers they are great cold or warmed up!


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