This Christmas, my family really pulled out all the stops to make Christmas dinner a feast to remember. We all rallied together in challenging personal circumstances to bring together family and friends for a seating of a nearly a dozen of our nearest and dearest last night. It was wonderful to see those happy, smiling faces around the family room, having a lovely time!
Our guests were not to bring anything other than themselves, so that left the cooking to us; specifically, my step-father, K, and myself. With K taking on the main entrée and sides (he really should have been a professional chef…), I did my part by baking off the hors d’oeuvres, the rolls, and the desserts so he could concentrate on the Big Show!
Here is the first of the several recipes I made for Christmas dinner: the delicious appetizer staple, Spanakopita (aka Spinach Cheese Phyllo Triangles).
YIELD: 20-35 pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup butter, divided
- 1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry*
- 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
- 3/4 cup 4% cottage cheese
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
- 20-25 sheets phyllo dough (14-inch x 9-inch sheet size)
* Protip: the best and quickest way to ensure that your thawed chopped spinach is as dry as you can get it, is to dump it onto the centre of a clean, dry kitchen towel, fold up the long ends over the spinach and wring the entire bundle by the short ends as tightly as you can. You’re welcome. ;o) *
- In a large skillet, saute onion in the divided 2 tablespoons butter until translucent; remove from heat. Stir in the spinach, feta cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.
- Melt remaining butter and place in heatproof container. Brush and layer five phyllo sheets together with melted butter, using a pastry brush; keep remaining phyllo dough covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Cut buttered sheets lengthwise into approximately 2″ strips; depending on the size and number of the phyllo sheets available, you could end up with 20-35 pieces.
- Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling at one end of each strip; fold into a triangle, as you would fold a flag; see photo for visual tutorial. Brush each completed triangle with more butter to ensure a good seal.
- Place completed triangles on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.