Tag Archives: authentic

Spanakopita

2 May
Spanikopita

Spanakopita

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.

Spanakopita and Tiropita Recipes

Spanakopita and Tiropita Recipes

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!

Spanakopita

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)

Spanakopita Ingredients

Spanakopita Ingredients

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:

Squeezing the Water Out of the Spinach

Squeezing the Water Out of the Spinach

Chop the green onions…

Chopping the Green Onions

Chopping the Green Onions

then mix them thoroughly with the spinach in a large bowl.

Mixing the Onion and Spinach

Mixing the Onion and Spinach

Mince the dill, then add to the spinach mixture along with the cottage and Feta cheeses and the beaten eggs. Combine thoroughly.

Spanakopita Filling

Spanakopita Filling

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.

First Layer of Filo Sheets

First Layer of Filo Sheets

Press in 1/4 of the spinach mixture in an even layer.

First Layer of Spinach Mixture

First Layer of Spinach Mixture

Layer 3 or 4 more sheets of Filo, then coat with butter evenly with a brush.

Brushing the Filo with Butter

Brushing the Filo with Butter

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.

Brushing the Last of the Butter Over Top

Brushing the Last of the Butter Over Top

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.

Spanakopita Out of the Oven

Spanakopita Out of the Oven!

While the Spanakopita was resting, these pretty babies were thrown onto the grill for a few minutes on each side.

Marinating Lamb Chops

Marinating Lamb Chops

Dinner is served!

Spanakopita and Lamb Chop Dinner

Spanakopita and Lamb Chop Dinner

 

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Unorthodox Enfrijoladas

12 Aug
Enfrijoladas Adam Holland

Enfrijoladas ~ photo by Adam J. Holland ~ The Unorthodox Epicure

Well, these are not really unorthodox, they are actually quite authentic. But this new recipe came to me from my good foodie friend Adam J. Holland, who has a most interesting foodie blog called “The Unorthodox Epicure” with a fun sidebar called “Confessions of an Aspiring Food Snob.” He is neither unorthodox nor snobby, that I can tell. But he’s a fellow Texan and cooks some great authentic Tex-Mex as well as authentic Mexican food, therefore he’s OK in my book, ya heah????

I made these last night, and hoo-boy, were they delicious! My entire family enjoyed them. It took hardly any prep time and cooked up pretty darn quick. That’s a win-win in my book! I halved the recipe since there are only three of us, but it still ended up making 8 Enfrijoladas (although I did add both grilled chicken AND cheese to the insides of them). There was one left in the end. All thumbs up. Thank you Adam!

I did take some initial prep photos thinking I might actually do a blog with my own photos on this, but a crazy thunderstorm rolled through as we were cooking this all outside on the propane burner/grill, so by the time we got it all moved inside there was no time with a hungry family to do any more foodie shots after having do all that and preheat the oven.

So sit right back, click on the link below, and enjoy his blog and recipe:

The Unorthodox Epicure Enfrijoladas Recipe

Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy

14 Jun
Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy

Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy

I was on a mission to both redeem and console myself after the prior night’s dinner disaster. I was wanting some Tex-Mex. Gooey, cheesy, spicy Tex-Mex. The kind of stuff you get at those mom and pop shops in the little towns scattered between the wide-open roads and ranches of Texas.

I’ve made plenty of Tex-Mex dishes in the past, and have a standard chile con carne recipe used for a lot of them. But mostly, when I cook up a Tex-Mex dish I don’t rely much on a recipe. It’s my take that any taco, burrito, tostada, or enchilada are just different shapes and cooking methods for pretty much the same ingredients, right?

Spices for Chile Gravy

Spices for Chile Gravy

But there was one dish I had yet to conquer, and that was the Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy. And what better place to start than the recipe from the Enchilada Queen herself, Sylvia Casares? She hails from the small town of Brownsville, Texas and currently owns two enchilada restaurants in Houston as well as offers cooking schools and catering.

I found a scaled-down version, time-wise, of her recipe in Texas Monthly magazine. I took my time and cooked everything linearly, instead of concurrently. Basically, I didn’t do any “meanwhile” cooking. But please, feel free to multitask on this one, I was enjoying each individual process so that I could become more familiar with each step for the next time I make these.

When the enchiladas came out of the oven, I was all set to take a plated shot (as best I could, as they come out of the pan pretty messy), but when I went to pick up the plate to move it to the table, it slipped out of my hands! In my spastic move to keep it from tumping upside down onto the floor, I smashed my other arm right on top of the plate, making a mess of not only the plate, but my shirtsleeve. The dish didn’t crash to the floor, but I was left with a pretty pitiful-looking plate of enchiladas and beans. And a dirty shirt. Thank goodness I had the foresight to wear an old camping shirt for this foray. I just sighed and thought “forget it, I’m hungry.” And sat right down to eat the mess.

 The Ill-Fated Shirt

The Ill-Fated Shirt

Ohhhh, but it was sooo good! I got a thumbs-up from the hubby and two thumbs up from my daughter. Even when she had the leftovers the next day she said “Mom, these are really really good! Are you going to make them again sometime?” The answer is a definite Yes!

I’m giving you the full recipe below as printed in Texas Monthly, but I did scale it down a tad since the dish I use for enchiladas only holds 9 rolled tortillas, which makes about two meals for my family of three. The full version makes 12 enchiladas. Suggested serving sides are refried beans and Mexican rice.

Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy
From Sylvia Casares via Texas Monthly

Prepare the Chile Gravy
1 1/2 cups white onion, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves
1/4 pound lean ground beef
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup flour
2 cups beef broth (I used homemade)
3 tablespoons chile powder (I used half New Mexico Red and half Ancho)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine onion and garlic in a blender (or food processor) and purée on high for about one minute or until smooth.

Onion Garlic Puree

Onion Garlic Puree

Add purée, ground beef, and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes (skim froth from surface). Note from me: Don’t freak out if your onion/garlic/meat mixture turns a bit green in the first part of cooking it. It’s a natural reaction and all turns brown eventually.

In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat until hot. Lower heat, add flour, and stir continuously until the roux turns a light golden brown.

Heat beef broth and 2 cups water over low heat in a small saucepan or in a microwave oven. Combine all spices and add to flour mixture along with broth and ground beef and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes or until mixture is the consistency of gravy.

Authentic Chile Gravy

Authentic Chile Gravy

Let rest for at least 10 minutes before using. Makes about 5 cups.

Prepare the Tortillas Dipped in Guajillo-Árbol Chile Sauce
7 guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
2 árbol or ancho chiles, stems removed (I used Ancho)
12 corn tortillas

Put chiles and 1/2 cup water (I used about 1 cup) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, adding water if needed. Let cool 15 minutes.

Chile Peppers Cooking

Chile Peppers Cooking

Purée the chiles and water in a blender or food processor on high speed until liquefied. Pass the purée through a strainer to remove any skins.

When almost ready to assemble the enchiladas, dip tortillas in the guajillo-árbol chile sauce one at a time and put on a plate. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

Guajillo-Ancho Chile Sauce

Guajillo-Ancho Chile Sauce

Assemble the Enchiladas
1 cup vegetable oil
Chile Gravy
Tortillas Dipped in Guajillo-Árbol Chile Sauce
5 cups grated cheddar cheese (reserve 1 cup for garnish) (I used cheddar for the tortillas and Monterey jack for the top)
1 cup white onion, diced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Place one tortilla at a time in the hot oil and quickly turn with tongs or a nonstick spatula. Total time in oil should be about 5 seconds. Stack on a plate and use immediately in next step.

Enchiladas Smothered in Chile Gravy

Enchiladas Smothered in Chile Gravy

Distribute a row of about 1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) of cheese down the middle of each tortilla. Roll up and place side by side in a 9-by-11-inch baking pan. Pour the chile gravy over the enchiladas and garnish with reserved grated cheese and diced onion. Bake until sauce bubbles and cheese is melted, 10 to 20 minutes; do not allow to brown. Makes 12 enchiladas (serves 4 to 6).

Enchiladas Ready to Bake

Enchiladas Ready to Bake

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

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