Anastasia’s Spanakopita

Spanakopita, or spinach pie, is one of those dishes you need to reserve an afternoon to make. It can’t really be rushed or the phyllo will tear, but it almosts tastes better once it’s done because you’ve put so much time into it. A few weeks ago, I had some downtime and decided to pull out my cousin Anastasia’s recipe for Spanakopita, which differs from the traditional flaky squares with the addition of oniony leeks.

Pour yourself a glass of wine and settle down in the kitchen with some determination and half a pound of butter. It’ll be very, very worth it. Leftovers (if there are any!) serve as a perfect next-day lunch.

Anastasia’s Spanakopita

Yields one 11×13 pan of Spanakopita.

2 lbs. fresh spinach

2 onions (can even add some green onions, chopped)

2 leeks, sliced lengthwise and then sliced (rinse very well)

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 eggs, beaten

1 lb. feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoon fresh dill, minced (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

20 sheets of phyllo dough (be sure to fully defrost before use if using frozen dough)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 lb. melted butter

Trim off stems of spinach. Wash well and let drain completely and set aside.

Sautee onions, leeks and garlic in 1/2 cup of olive oil until translucent. Mix beaten eggs.

Get a large bowl and toss all above ingredients together (except phllo dough and melted butter). Combine well. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the mixture and toss well again.

Melt 1/2 pound of butter and grease a 11×13 baking pan. Line the greased pan with 10 of the phyllo sheets and using a pastry brush, brush each sheet with melted butter.

Place spinach mixture over the phyllo and then cover with the remaining sheets, brushing each with melted butter. Mend any torn phyllo with a damp paper towel.

Place the baking pan in the refrigerator for about one hour. Once chilled, you can lightly score the top of the spanakopita into squares. This will make it easier to cut later. Sprinkle the top with a little water so the phyllo sheets don’t curl up while baking.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

I served the Spanakopita with Avgolemono, which is my go-to soup (after my grandma’s matzah ball soup) when I’m sick. I used this basic recipe and added shredded chicken and carrots. It’s simple and quick to make, just be very careful when tempering the eggs so they don’t scramble.

Pure comfort food.


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