Monday, January 13, 2020

Save-the-Day Spinach Pie

One of my goals for this year is to get better about weekday dinners, and to learn more recipes that might be palatable for younger eaters. I was poking around the internet and found a recommendation for Every Day is Saturday: Recipes + Strategies for Easy Cooking, Every Day of the Week by Sarah Copeland. This recipe is in the "Projects" section because it's just as easy to make two at once, and then you will have made an extra! I like the unusual sections in this cookbook because it's based on type of meal or rather need like quick dinners, last minute friends, etc.

I made a few mistakes with this recipe but I don't think they mattered to the final taste, but it's definitely not as pretty as the one in the cookbook! I'll add some notes at the end to talk about what I could have done better.

Save-the-Day Spinach Pie
(recipe from Sarah Copeland) 

Serves: 8


30 oz frozen spinach, thawed
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Set the spinach in a colander to drain while you prepare the remaining ingredients, then place it in the center of a large, sturdy dish towel. Squeeze out as much moisture as you can. (If you wash the towel shortly after, the color won’t stain.)

Heat a large pan over medium heat. Melt the butter, and pour off and reserve about 5 tbsp.* Add the onion to the skillet and cook until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with the squeezed spinach, and add the ricotta, eggs, feta, dill (If using), lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Brush a 9x11 inch baking pan with some of the reserved melted butter. Lay the two first sheets of phyllo side by side in the bottom of the pan to cover it and come 1 inch up the sides; brush with butter. Continue with another two sheets of phyllo right on top, layering them slightly overlapping to cover the bottom and up the sides (so far, you’ve used four sheets.) Add the spinach mixture and spread into an even layer. Lay two more sheets of phyllo side by side on top, to cover the entire filling, and brush with butter. Tuck the sides of the phyllo over the top, and layer the two remaining sheets of phyllo on top. Brush with the remaining butter.

Bake until the phyllo is cooked through, shiny, and golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove and let cool until just warm to the touch before cutting. Cut into 9 or 12 pieces and serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

One pan is a great start, but two pans of spinach pie will have you set for one hot meal, plus packable lunches and late-day snacks. Cool one pan completely and freeze, well wrapped (in plastic wrap and foil, right in the pan), for up to 2 weeks. To eat, bring to room temperature first, then warm in a hot oven for 5 minutes.

Notes from JennyBakes: Thawing the spinach and phyllo requires some thinking ahead and this makes this recipe more challenging (I know I need to do better at planning!) Making a double batch makes sense, maybe one in a disposable pan, because otherwise you just throw phyllo away.

Phyllo is tricky; you need to keep a damp towel on top of it every second you aren’t working with it directly. It’s ridiculous to melt all the butter in the pan only to pour and measure it out. I melted 3 tbsp in the pan (and that’s probably too much for one small onion!) and 5 tbsp in a ramekin for the assembly.

I might use nonstick spray for everything except the top next time, since the filling has so much fat already and it would assemble more quickly.

And I should have baked this about 5 more minutes!

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