ΣΠΑΝΑΚΟΡΙΖΟ / SPINACH AND RICE

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1/4 cup olive oil

2 sweet vidalia onions, chopped

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon Cavenders Greek Seasoning

1 teaspoon oregano

2 pounds fresh spinach, rinsed and stemmed

1 can tomato paste

2 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

3/4 to 1 cup uncooked Uncle Ben’s rice

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place onions in the skillet. Add sugar, Cavenders, oregano, salt and pepper to the onions and sauté until translucent. Add spinach, and cook stirring for a few minutes, then add the tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil, and adjust seasonings. Stir in rice, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Add more water if necessary.

Serve with fresh lemon juice, a Greek salad, crusty bread and, if you’re lucky, keftethes.

Σπανακόπιτα / Spinach and Cheese Pie

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2 lb. fresh spinach, washed, dried, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch scallions (about 10 small), white and light-green parts only, finely chopped
2 cups crumbled feta cheese (10 oz.)
1/2 cup finely grated Greek kefalotyri cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp Cavendars Greek Seasoning
1/2 tsp. sugar
Kosher or fine sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1/2 pound melted butter
1 pound phyllo pastry

Directions:
Heat the oil in a large saute pan, add the spinach and saute until spinach wilts, tossing with tongs, about 2 minutes.

Add scallions and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach to the scallions, along with the parsley, salt and pepper, seasonings and sugar. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the cheeses and cook for another minute then remove from heat to cool. (This part can be done ahead and kept refrigerated).

Stir the beaten egg into the cooled spinach mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.

Unroll the phyllo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out and become brittle. Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use a pastry brush to brush a strip of phyllo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.

Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot. (These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.)

Much easier variation: Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, and spread 8 sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter. Spoon the spinach filling over the phyllo, then cover with 8 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each sheet. Score the top 3 sheets with a sharp knife. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is golden, let stand 15 minutes, then cut into squares and serve warm.