I basically forgot to post this last month for Greek Easter, so here you go.
As some of you probably know by now, I’m half Greek and I make a mean spanakopita, but the process with the phyllo dough can be GRUELING. It’s just a lot of work and this recipe takes out 75% of it by using those store-bought mini phyllo shells. SO, SO EASY. Same great flavors, but half the amount of time and energy. BEYOND IDEAL.
If you can’t find these little phyllo shells…you’re screwed. Just kidding. You could easily use puff pastry shells or one big puff pastry pie shell. I’m sure that would be just as delicious if you made a giant spinach pie in actual pie form. As long as you have a carby vehicle that has a lot of butter in it, you’re good.
Also note that I don’t like to buy the pre-crumbled feta cheese. I think it lacks moisture and loses some of the salty flavor. Buy the block and crumble it yourself, trust me.
- 1 package frozen chopped spinach
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 small-medium onion, chopped small
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 1/4 tsp dill weed or 1 tsp chopped fresh dill
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 oz cream cheese (1/4 of an 8 oz package)
- 4 oz feta cheese (block), crumbled into pieces
- 1 package mini phyllo shells, thawed
- Heat a medium-large saucepan over high heat. Add a little bit of water to the pan and then add your block of frozen spinach. It needs to thaw out and then be squeezed out of all the water it holds. It will take a few minutes of flipping the block and breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Once it’s all thawed and wilted, remove from heat and let cool a bit.
- While that’s cooling, you can chop your onions, scallions, and/or crumble your feta. Or take out the phyllo shells from the freezer and let them thaw. Do something to kill a few minutes. I just don’t recommend moving onto the next step before you actually drain the spinach because believe me you don’t want to do that when it’s piping hot.
- Using a kitchen towel or a bunch of paper towels, grab the spinach by the handful and put in the center of the towel/paper towel. Close it up as if you were making a little bag of spinach and squeeze. You will see a ton of liquid (green liquid) come out. Don’t worry, that’s what you want! Set in a medium sized bowl until ready to use. Repeat this process until you’ve gone through all the spinach.
- Wipe out the same saucepan you used for the spinach, then heat over medium-high heat. Add butter and olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and cook 3-4 minutes until translucent. Don’t let them brown!
- Add scallions and cook for another minute or so. Add salt, dill, and pepper.
- Add the spinach back to the onion mixture and make sure it’s well combined with the onions, dill, and scallions. Then add the cream cheese and stir until mixture is creamy and cream cheese is melted.
- Add half of the feta to the pan and mix until well combined and mostly melted. Turn off the heat and let cool for 1 minute, then add the rest of the feta and mix gently. I do this because I like the feta to be melted into the mixture for flavor, but I also want to see the little chunks of it when I’m assembling.
- Lay your phyllo shells on a plate or pan and fill them with the spinach mixture. You can serve just like that or pop in the oven at 350 (or toaster oven since they’re small) for a few minutes to heat the phyllo shells. And voila (or Opa?), you have an adorable, tasty appetizer that’s 10x easier to make than the original version!