As a child, I remember watching a Shirley Temple film and hearing her sing a song titled "No Spinach."
By me, it should have been our national anthem.
Shirley was a heroine, fighting a brave, though futile war against the assembled adult forces in favor of greenery.
Of course I have changed my mind about vegetables, but still have tremendous sympathy for the notion that there must be something to make to make wilted foliage a tad more appetizing. Once in a while, parents need to be a bit sneaky about this.
The first step is calling this Spanakopita, instead of Spinach Pie, because as all children know, a pie should be full of Apples or Chocolate Cream.
Hiding the leaves inside a golden pastry crust is the next step. They look at the new dish, hear a name which does not indicate the presence of plant matter, and figure that there couldn't be any harm in trying a bit. Then they're hooked.
This stuff tastes good.
It is also very easy to prepare.
This recipe uses frozen Puff Pastry Dough, rather than Phyllo.
Working with Phyllo is terribly time consuming. Puff Pastry Dough is sold in large sheets or small squares.
Small pastries, such as turnovers are made by putting the filling in the center of a square, then folding it into a triangle and pinching the edges together firmly.
Miniature pastries are done by cutting the squares into quarters, then filling and sealing the same way. Take my advice on this one. Phyllo may or may not seal, and it is miserable to have to clean a pan, after the filling has leaked from an improperly sealed goodie.
Here is my method for doing a large Spanakopita. This recipe is much more tasty than what you have had made commercially. I prefer to make a large one and slice it.
2 sheets frozen ready-made Puff Pastry Dough, thawed
1 pound bag frozen Cut Leaf Spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large Onion, diced
2 Portobello Mushrooms, diced
2 tablespoons Butter
8 ounces mild rich Cheese, such as Havarti or Muenster, diced
4 ounces sharp Cheese, such as Feta or Parmesan, shredded
Salt and Pepper to taste
Melt the Butter in a skillet, then cook the Onion and Mushrooms until the Onion is tender and the liquid has evaporated from the Mushrooms.
Cool the mixture.
Spread one sheet of the Puff Pastry Dough on a cookie sheet.
Spread the Spinach on the dough to within 1 inch of the edges. Then scatter each of the remaining ingredients evenly over the Spinach.
Place the other sheet of Puff Pastry Dough on top of the filling. Because the second sheet is resting on the filling, the edges will be just a bit in from those of the bottom sheet.
Fold the bottom edges over the top ones and pinch firmly together. Be sure to seal them With a sharp knife, make several 1 inch long slits in the top crust and make sure they are open.
Place in an oven which has been preheated to 375 degrees, and bake at for 45-60 minutes. Be sure the oven is preheated, or the pastry will not puff as well.
Let the Pie bake until it is at the uppermost limit of the brownness you want.
Puff Pastry can fool you and be underdone, in which case it will be soggy. Better a bit overdone than underdone.
This pie will make 6 main dish size servings for dinner.
2002 Eddy Robey
Excerpts from It's Not Just Chicken Soup.
hosted by the Gantseh Megillah
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