Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spanakopita Rolls

Don't these look so delicious? I love Spanakopita, Greek Spinach Pie, and I always order it at any Greek restaurant I am fortunate enough to visit. It has always been a favorite of mine and I remember having it as a child when I visited Greektown in Detroit with my mom. No visit to Greektown (or any Greek restaurant) is complete without Spanakopita and Saganaki -- Opa!!

Over at I Heart Cooking Clubs this week the theme is Go Green! and even though I already posted one entry for Go Green! week, this Angel Hair Pasta with Zucchini, Mint, and Feta, that was a recipe I made last fall and I wanted to do another Tessa Kiros "Green" recipe this week. I settled on her Spanakopita Spinach Pies in her book Foods From Many Greek Kitchens. After reading through the recipe, I realized that these weren't the traditional spanakopita that I think of that is baked in a big dish and cut into squares, nor was it the second way I think of spanakopita, appetizer style folded into little triangles of phyllo, nope, these were rolled up "cigar" style -- how fun!

Spanakopita Rolls
adapted from Tessa Kiros -- Food From Many Greek Kitchens
changes in italics

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 and 1/2 cups chopped green onions with some green (
okay, sorry to be a spoil sport but I hate onion in my spanakopita although it is almost always there when commercially prepared, that is why I usually make my own and leave the onion out, which is what I did this time as well)

1 pound 9 ounces spinach leaves, about 2 bunches, washed, drained, and shreded (I used 2 frozen 9 ounce packages, defrosted in the microwave)

1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill, include some stalks (I used 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed)


7 ounces feta, coarsely shredded (crumbled is what I used)

2 eggs (I dropped this down to 1 egg to hold it all together, I don't like when it gets too eggy)

freshly grated nutmeg

freshly ground black pepper

phyllo pastry / dough (this recipe yeilded 1/2 roll, phyllo here is packaged with two individually packaged rolls per frozen box, next time I would double all of the ingredients and make two pans worth to use up the whole opened roll of phyllo) 27 sheets cut to 9 by 10 inches

olive oil, for brushing

To make the filling, choose a nonstick pot that is large enough to take all the spinach. Add the oil and put over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until softened. Add the spinach and a little salt, and cook, covered until the spinach wilts, turning it through a couple of times. Flick in a little water if necessary, but there should be enough coming from the spinach. Now uncover and simmer until the spinach softens and most of the water has evaporated.

Here is what I did since I used frozen spinach, defrost in the microwave for 6 minutes (per package), with a silt in the package and the spinach in a bowl. Let cool. Open the bags carefully, they are super hot, and dump the spinach into a colander to squeeze the water out.

Remove to a bowl to cool. It was at this point I added the 5 tbsp olive oil.

Add the dill, feta, eggs, nutmeg, and a few grings of pepper. Mix thoroughly and taste a little for salt.

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 12 and 3/4 by 8 inch baking dish. I used a glass 9 by 13 pyrex dish. Cut your phyllo sheets and keep them covered with a dish cloth to prevent them from drying out. I did not cut mine, just rolled them up in the size they were cut in the package, one sheet per spanakopita roll. Now you will have to work quickly so that the pastry doesn't dry and crack, keeping the phyllo you are not working with covered with a dish cloth.

Lay one phyllo sheet flat on a work surface and brush it well with olive oil. Lay another sheet neatly on top, brush it with olive oil and repeat once more, so that you now have 3 layers. I did not do this and just used the sheets as the sizes they were cut as packaged, brushed with oil, and there was plenty of phyllo on the roll.

Now dollop 2 heaped tablespoons of filling along the short end, leaving a border of about an inch.

Drag the filling into an even line, then roll up the pastry fairly tightly into a cigar shape starting from the spinach end, making one full turn, then turn and tuck the sides over and continue rolling. Brush the surface with oil -- I skipped this and brushed the rolled rolls with a little butter before putting them into the oven. Make 8 more rolls in this was and as they are finished, arrange them in the dish side by side so they all fit touching in a row running from one short side to the opposite side, like soldiers all lined up.

Here they are with my baking helper, ready to go into the oven.

Bake for about 30 minutes (I baked mine 35 for optimum golden browning) or until golden. Cool a dash before serving, as these are best eaten warm. We thought they were great cooled a little too, I even like them just slightly warm.


I thought these were wonderful, one of my favorite Tessa Kiros recipes for sure! I love, love, love the rolled shape and wonder why I hadn't thought of that before. They would be perfect for a Greek dinner or appetizer party. Not that I know I can make two pans worth with one roll of phyllo dough this will help immensley with planning and not wasting phyllo dough! Picky husband does not like spinach and my six year old son did not want to try these, but my daughter and my youngest (my baking helper) had one and liked them even though I know the spinach is a tough sell. Thank goodness they are feta fans and the enjoyed the feta flavor. I will be making this again for sure and if you like spanakopita, or even spinach and feta, give these a try as soon as possible!


pinkstripes said...

Anyway you shape spanakopita it's delicious! These look great.

Jenny Bai said...

I love your version of spanakopita! They look delicious and also more convenient to eat! Can you buy phyllo sheets at any supermarket?

Andrea at Nummy Kitchen said...

Jenny, yes, I think phyllo sheets are available at most supermarkets, they are usually in the freezer section and are in a box that looks similar to a puff pastry box, long rectangle. Sometimes they are tricky to find but I think most places carry them you just need to know where to look or find a worker that knows what is in stock. :)

MM said...

Opa, indeed! Awesome!

Kim said...

I've had spanakopita on my list of things to make from Tessa's books, but honestly the triangle shape seemed intimidating to me. The cigar shape, however, seems easier to make and definitely more fun to eat. Love how flaky and delicious these look!

Your helper is a cutie!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Beautiful! I love spanakopit and I think the cigar shapes are brilliant! More crunch per bite. ☺

Deb in Hawaii said...

I love the cigar shapes! So much more fun and easier to serve and eat.

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