My sister made this wonderful authentic Greek dish for the family one night when she was here visiting last week. It was so much fun being able to snap some photos while she explained every step of the recipe and demonstrated the “technique” of this dish. This recipe came from her boyfriend’s mother who hailed from Greece, Zora St. Martin (her Greek maiden name was Zaharias, she married a French Canadian). Zora died about two years ago at age 88, and had a successful catering business in Newport, NH. Before she passed on she wrote down the recipe for her son, which I have shared below. As a bonus, she also included the recipe for Tiropita, which is similar to Spanakopita but doesn’t have spinach.
The first thing my sister said before making this was to correct my pronunciation of the dish. I’ve been saying it wrong all these years! It is span-uh-KOH-pih-ta, NOT span-uh-koh-PEE-ta. This also makes a very large amount. She said whenever they cook this at home, they wrap up individual packages to give to friends. They actually have friends calling them asking them when they are going to make it again, it is that good! This also makes a wonderful breakfast or brunch. It took us a few days, but we ate every last bit of this! My sister also found some cute little lamb chops on sale at the store, which she marinated in soy sauce, honey, and red chile flakes and grilled them up as a nice “side” to the Spanakopita. Thank you Molly for an awesome dinner!
1 package Filo (Phyllo) dough, thawed in refrigerator
3 10-ounce packages frozen spinach, thawed
1 bunch green onions
Handful of fresh dill sprigs
16-ounce container cottage cheese
24-ounces crumbled Feta cheese
6 well-beaten eggs
2 sticks melted butter (1/2 pound)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the thawed spinach in a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as possible with your hands. Literally grab bunches of the spinach and wring it out like a wet washcloth. My sister demonstrated this beautifully:
Chop the green onions…
then mix them thoroughly with the spinach in a large bowl.
Mince the dill, then add to the spinach mixture along with the cottage and Feta cheeses and the beaten eggs. Combine thoroughly.
Brush a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with some of the butter. Layer 5 or 6 Filo sheets in the bottom of the pan, including up the sides.
Press in 1/4 of the spinach mixture in an even layer.
Layer 3 or 4 more sheets of Filo, then coat with butter evenly with a brush.
Repeat layers of spinach, Filo, and butter. The top layer should be at least 5 or 6 sheets of Filo. Pour any remaining butter over the top and brush around.
Bake in the preheated heated oven for 45 minutes until the top is golden-brown. If it starts to get too brown you can lightly cover it with a piece of foil. After 45 minutes, turn oven down to 350 and bake for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven, and let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.
While the Spanakopita was resting, these pretty babies were thrown onto the grill for a few minutes on each side.
Dinner is served!