Monday, July 29, 2013

Spinach and Feta Pie


After developing a solid spanakopita recipe, I assumed I was finished with my search for the perfect spinach 'pie'. Much to my dismay, our little one strongly dislikes the crisp, buttery phyllo crust. As soon as it touches her lips, her face gets a sour look and a very serious 'yuck' escapes her mouth. With all the labor it takes constructing a traditional spanakopita, and the fact that my daughter detests the best part, what is the point? On the upside, she loves the spinach filling. I knew it was time to reevaluate my vehicle for spinach. 



















Not only is this much faster and easier to prepare than a spanakopita, it celebrates my daughter's favorite element of it. Since the crust is blind baked and not in the constant peril of any excess moisture that phyllo is, you don't have to drain the spinach before cooking! I'll be honest, that is one of my least favorite preps. You dirty a kitchen towel, and its a pain to clean out the little scraps of spinach from the sink (no garbage disposal or dish washer in our house). I even cheated a  bit and used some leftover pie crust I had in the freezer. After an effortless overnight thaw in the fridge, I was ready to go. 

INGREDIENTS

1 lb organic chopped frozen spinach, slightly thawed
1/2 recipe prepared pie dough, or your favorite store bought pie crust
5 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated on a rasp
1/2 tsp kosher salt
pepper to taste
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
zest of 1 medium organic lemon
~6 oz light or full fat feta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350*. Ensure rack is in center of oven. Roll out thawed pie crust on a clean floured surface. Place into a deep pie dish and dock the crust with a fork. Take a large sheet of parchment paper and lay it over the crust. Fill with pie weights or 1 lb of dried beans (beans can't be used for any thing else after they've been used as pie weights). Bake in oven for about 15 - 20 minutes, till the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside. 

While the pie is blind baking, place a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp canola oil. Add the onion and cook till softened and slightly translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the spinach, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the garlic and stir well. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl beat together 4 large eggs with most of the milk till frothy. Add the lemon zest and mix well. By this time the spinach should have cooled down a bit, and is a good time to crumble in the feta. Spoon in the spinach filling into the prepared crust, then pour over the beaten egg and zest mixture. Gently move around the spinach to allow the egg to get well dispersed into the mixture. Lightly beat the last egg with any leftover milk and generously brush the crust with the egg wash. Top entire pie with grated Parmesan. 

Place in oven and bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or till the spinach and egg filling puffs up slightly and the cheese begins to brown. Remove and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. I like this pie best room temperature, so its great to bring along for picnics or cook outs.

























3 comments:

  1. Yum! I'm adding this to my meal plan for next week.

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  2. I made this today but used an easy whole wheat no bake crust recipe. We're eating it now, and its great! Got the approval of my 13 month old as well. :)

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    Replies
    1. Awesome, so glad you're all enjoying it! Any way to get greens into the mouths of babes!

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