Spanakopita with feta cheese

“SPANAKOPITA!”

I love this moment from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, where Yiayia, sitting under a table at her great granddaughter’s high school’s college fair event, emerges from the tablecloth to cry, “Spanakopita!”  😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Greek spinach pie, spanakopita with feta cheese, is also called “Spanakotiropita.” I made this version for Easter dinner yesterday. It was a big hit with my family.
Spanakopita with feta cheese

Here’s the recipe for my spanakopita with feta cheese, adapted from my Mothers’ Hellenic Cuisine 1956 cookbook by Saints Constantine and Helen Ladies Society.

Spanakopita
Author: 
Recipe type: savory pie
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 pieces
 
Spanakopita - Spinach Pie with butter recipe adapted from the Hellenic Cuisine cookbook by Sts. Constantine and Helen Ladies Society, Detroit MI 1956
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. of frozen spinach
  • 2 small bunches of green onions
  • 1 lb. crumbled Greek feta cheese
  • 7 eggs, beaten
  • 1 lb. of butter
  • 1 box of frozen phyllo / filo pastry sheets (2 rolls per box, approximately 20 sheets per roll)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. dried basil
Instructions
  1. Day before baking - Allow spinach to thaw and drain over night in a colander (use a bowl underneath the colander to catch the moisture)
  2. Allow frozen phyllo to thaw in refrigerator overnight
  3. Next day - Preheat oven to 350° F
  4. Combine spinach, crumbled feta, green onions, beaten eggs and spices, and mix into a large bowl
  5. Melt butter and set aside
  6. Grease 9 x 13" pan
  7. Place 10 - 12 pastry sheets into pan brushing each with melted butter
  8. Spread spinach mixture on top of buttered pastry sheets
  9. Cover spinach mixture with 10 - 12 pastry sheets, each also brushed with melted butter
  10. Score the top of the pie to the size of desired pieces
  11. Bake at 350° F for one hour or until golden brown

 

And look who won the egg cracking contest this year. Good luck for me!

Spanakopita with feta cheese, The Egg Cracking Champion

Happy Easter! Kalo Pascha! Christos Anesti!

More of my Greek Easter blog posts and recipes here:

 

Greeks Dye Easter Eggs Red

One of the oldest Easter traditions for Greek Orthodox Christians are Easter eggs dyed red. In the Orthodox Church, Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, and the hard shell of the egg symbolizes the sealed Tomb of Christ — the cracking of which symbolized his resurrection from the dead.

Easter Eggs Red

You can dye eggs naturally using the skins of yellow onions. I used the skin of 10 small to medium sized yellow onions and all the skin that was loose in the net bag they come in from the market.

Easter eggs red

I’ll use these onions in the same pan that I roast the traditional Easter lamb on Sunday. They’ll work as a bed for the lamb to rest on, along with other herbs, in the roasting pan.

Easter eggs red

Cover the skins with approximately 6 cups of water and 8 tbsp. of white vinegar. Bring to a boil and let steep. The longer the skins steep the darker the color. I used brown eggs with yellow onions skins to get the deeper rusty red color.

Easter eggs red

You can hard boil the eggs with the skins or in the liquid after the skins have been removed. Bring the liquid back to boil and simmer the eggs for 5 to 8 minutes then take off the heat. Leave the eggs in the dye until they are cool.

Easter eggs red

You can also let the eggs cool in the dye and set in your fridge overnight.

Here’s the how-to video I followed, on dying eggs with onion skins, from my friend, Blogger and Greek Chef, Peter Minaki.

Kalo Pascha and Kali Anastasi!

Neo-Magiritsa Soup from Kalofagas

Last Sunday was Greek Easter and as always my family gathered for the day and dinner. The weather was beautiful. We grilled our leg of lamb outside. The boys ran around, played in the yard on the green grass and on my green swing. They were having too much fun for a serious photo.

Easter Boyz  2013

I added one new recipe to my menu this Easter. I made Greek Easter soup, Magiritsa. This recipe takes me back to fond memories of my Yiayia Yeoryia (Georgia). She made it every Easter with the offal (organ meat) from the spring lamb. May her memory be eternal.

Per Wikipedia: “Magiritsa is a Greek soup made from lamb offal, associated with the Easter tradition of the Greek Orthodox Church. Accordingly, Greek-Americans and Greek-Canadians sometimes call it “Easter soup”. Don’t be confused by the different phonetic spellings of magiritsa/magheritsa. If you Google either you’ll get at least 1,000 results.

I decided to make a simpler version and used Peter Minaki’s Neo-Magheritsa recipe.Neo Magheritsa 1

I boiled lamb trimmings from the Eastern Market butcher shop where we purchased our leg of lamb. I added carrots, leeks, salt, peppercorns and a bouquet garni of parsley stems. I did this on Saturday, the day before Easter. After the mixture came to a rigorous boil and simmered, I drained the broth and refrigerated it.Neo-magheritsa 2
On Sunday morning I skimmed off all the fat that had floated to the top. Refrigeration provides an easy way to remove the fat from broths. Avgolemono

Then on Sunday before dinner, I brought the broth back to a boil, added orzo and simmered for 9 minutes. My daughter-in-law, Erin and I added the avgolemono. Tempering eggs is so much easier with extra hands. We used an immersion blender for the eggs and for tempering them with the broth.Easter Soup

I garnished the magiritsa soup with parsley (instead of the traditional dill). My entire family loved it.

Thank you Peter for your easy and modern recipe. I know Yiayia Yeoryia was looking down at us and was pleased. Christos Anesti!

Neo-Magiritsa from Kalofagas
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Neo-Magiritsa soup, an updated recipe of a traditional Greek soup by Peter Minaki of Kalofagas. Magiritsa is a traditional Greek soup made for Orthodox Easter.
Ingredients
  • BROTH
  • 1½ kg. of lamb shoulder [or other cuts like shank, ribs, necks]
  • Enough water to cover the meat
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 12 scallions, sliced [I used 2 leeks]
  • ½ bunch finely chopped dill
  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup Arborio rice [I used Orzo]
  • salt and pepper to taste [I added a bouquet garni, a bundle of herbs tied together with cheese cloth]
  • AVGOLEMONO
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 lemons
  • garnish ½ fresh chopped dill [I used parsley]
  • lemon wedge
Instructions
  1. BROTH - Rinse your lamb pieces and place in a large pot
  2. Cover with enough water to just cover the meat
  3. Add about Tbsp. of sea salt
  4. Cover and bring to a boil then lower and simmer for about 2½ hours or until the meat falls off the bone
  5. Remove from the heat, adjust seasoning if necessary
  6. Remove meat and pull off the bone, remove any fat and cartilage
  7. Chop the meat into bite-sized pieces
  8. Add the hot stock, meat, rice, parsley, dill and bring up to a boil then lower to medium and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the rice is cooked [This is where I added the leeks, carrots, and bouquet garni]
  9. AVGOLEMONO - Crack your eggs in a bowl and add the juice of 2 lemons and whisk until just frothy
  10. Once the rice is cooked in the soup, remove from the heat and slowly add hot stock into your bowl of egg and lemon while whisking
  11. While whisking add about 4-5 more ladles to temper and the heat of the egg/lemon mixture
  12. Pour the tempered egg/lemon mixture back into the soup pot, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add the remaining ½ cup fresh dill