Thursday, May 26, 2011

Serving Up {Entree}: Spinach Pie

I hate it when I'm at a loss when I write and, yet, as I begin to type this post I realized that I don't even know how to categorize this recipe.  Frustrating!  It may have "pie" in the title, but this is not something you would serve a'la mode.  It also has "spinach" in the title but the butter content alone negates it from being labeled a vegetable.  I do, however, think you could venture as far as to consider it a "brunch" entrĂ©e - think of it as a variation on quiche.

I first sampled this recipe on Christmas Eve.  My mother-in-law put together a 'Night in Bethlehem' and, with the help of my sister-in-law, created a lavish meal including roasted vegetables, nuts and dried fruit, salad and this Spinach Pie.  Blankets were spread on the floor as we ate a meal intended to represent the time period of the Savior.  The evening was delightful and touching, but among many fond memories are the memories of this delicious dish!  I've made this recipe three times already since.  Something about that feta cheese keeps me coming back!  Yum!

I will pass along one tip.  I usually avoid any recipe that calls for fillo dough because I think it is so difficult to work with.  My past experiences include it tearing and drying out and crumbling.  Ugh!  But I am guilty of freezing my packages of fillo dough.  My sister-in-law suggested refrigerating the dough and not freezing it.  It made all the difference for me.  I am no longer scared of fillo dough.  Bring it on!

(recipe from Sheri D.)
printable version

14 sheets Fillo Dough
10 oz. package frozen, chopped spinach
12 ounces cottage cheese *
8 ounces cream cheese *
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
2 scallions
1 medium onion
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Chop the onion and thinly slice the scallions.  Saute in vegetable oil at medium heat until tender and golden.  Drain the spinach and squeeze dry.  Thoroughly mix the onions, spinach, cheese, dill, pepper and egg in a large bowl.  Melt and clarify the butter.  Brush the bottom and sides of a 13"x9" baking pan with butter.  Using 7 fillo sheets build a stack in the bottom of the baking pan by brushing half of each fillo sheet and folding in in half.  Spread the spinach and cheese mixture evenly over the fillo in the baking pan.  Cover the mixture using 7 fillo sheets in the same manner used to create the base.  Thoroughly butter the top layer, especially the edges.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown in a 375 degree preheated oven.
Let it stand for 10 minutes before cutting for easier serving.  Cut into squares or triangles using a sharp knife.

* the recipe calls for low-fat cottage cheese and light cream cheese, so if you are into that I think you are safe to substitute.  I don't believe in "low-fats" and "lights" so I use the REAL stuff and the results are fabulous!  No guilt here!

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