Food from Many Greek Kitchens
by Tessa Kiros
Spanakopita (Spinach Pies)
'There are many Variations on spinach pies in Greece involving different pastries and different fillings, some with feta and others just plain. This one has a little feta and uses phyllo pastry. These are delicious as a meal or snack.
You will need an oven dish of about 12¾ x 8 inches, as you will arrange them in a long row..
• 5 tablespoons olive oil
• 1½ cups chopped green onions with some green
• 1 pound 9 ounces spinach leaves [about 2 bunches], washed, drained and shredded
• 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill (include some stalks)
• 7 ounces feta, coarsely shredded
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• freshly grated nutmeg
• freshly ground black pepper
• 27 sheets of phyllo pastry* final dimensions 9x10 inches
• olive oil, for brushing
To make the filling, choose a nonstick pot that is large enough to take all the spinach. Add the oil and put over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until softened. Add the spinach and a little salt, and cook, covered, until the spinach wilts, turning it through a couple of times. Flick in a little water if necessary, but there should be enough coming from the spinach. Now uncover and simmer until the spinach softens and most of the water has evaporated. Remove to a bowl to cool. Add the dill, feta, eggs, nutmeg and a few grinds of pepper. Mix thoroughly and taste a little for salt.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 12¾ x 8-inch baking dish.
Cut your phyllo sheets and keep them covered with a dish cloth to prevent them from drying out. Now you will have to work quickly so that the pastry doesn't dry and crack, keeping the phyllo you are not working with covered with a dish cloth.
Lay 1 phyllo sheet flat on a work surface and brush it well with olive oil. Lay another sheet neatly on top, brush it with oil and repeat once more, so that you have 3 layers. Now dollop 2 heaped tablespoons of filling along one short end, leaving a border of about an inch. Drag the filling into an even line, then roll up the pastry fairly tightly into a cigar shape starting from the spinach end, making one full turn, then turn and tuck the sides over and continue rolling. Brush the surface with oil.
Make 8 more rolls in this way and as they are finished, arrange them in the dish side by side so they all fit touching in a row running from one short side to the opposite side, like soldiers all lined up.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden.
Cool a dash before serving, as these are best eaten warm.
*The dimensions of commercial phyllo vary from brand to brand, so you will need to work out the number of phyllo sheets you require in the beginning, according to the makers dimensions.