We like to entertain, a lot.
When the family shows up, or friends gather for a weekend meal, one of the most common requests we get is for these Spinach and Feta Pies. Which is somewhat counter-intuitive since we usually have a bunch of kids roaming around, who would normally be noshing on chips and salsa. But instead they’re asking if they can have the last one.
I often have to wrestle with myself to let them have it, telling myself it’s a good thing they want the last one. I can always make myself more.
I think they’re fooled by the idea that it’s a pie and that its portable so they can pop it in a napkin and continue with playtime rather than being relegated to a seat at the table. Oh and also because they’re just so good thanks to hearty chunks of dry Feta and mellow toasted pinenuts.
Spinach and Feta Pies
Makes 10 hand pies
1 (8-ounce) sleeve frozen phyllo dough, thawed at room temperature
1 pound fresh spinach leaves
2 tablespoons plus ½ cup butter, divided
zest and juice of one lemon
1 shallot, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup panko bread crumbs
1 ½ cups Feta cheese, cubed (I prefer it in ½-inch cubes for maximum Feta flavor)
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
sea salt flakes
In a large fry pan with high sides, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add spinach in 3 batches. Add lemon juice and season with salt as you go. Cook until spinach has wilted, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander and gently squeeze excess water from leaves. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon butter to pan and saute shallots for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add to spinach mixture with lemon zest, eggs, panko bread crumbs, Feta and pine nuts. Stir gently to combine.
In the microwave or in a small pan, melt remaining ½ cup of butter. Lay a sheet of phyllo dough flat on counter and brush lightly with butter. Repeat process 3 more times, brushing each layer with butter and carefully positioning the phyllo on top of one another. Cut phyllo in half lengthwise. Place ¼ cup of filling in the bottom corner of the dough strip and fold from corner to corner, diagonally, like a flag. Fold again over flat end, then on the diagonal again, continuing folding to top of sheet. Brush edge of corner with butter to seal. Brush top of hand pie with butter and flakes of sea salt. Continue folding hand pies in same manner until filling is gone.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
baking, cheese, Feta, Greek, phyllo, spinach
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