Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spinach Feta Pie

Here's one of my favorites from Guestblogger Alita. I've been eating and making this recipe for years. The variations are endless, everyone seems to love it, and it's great as an unusual brunch dish or a vegetarian main course. Leftovers reheat perfectly too. --A Crafty Lass

Years ago I was invited to a 3-day creative retreat which was held at a spa located on a serene old farm about an hour West of Minneapolis.The retreat may have been informative, I don't really recall - because the most memorable thing I took away from that retreat were recipes for two items that my cooking repertoire would suffer without!

The chef on staff thankfully introduced me to this amazing rice and egg-based pie, and also a "healthy" wheat germ brownie, that may appear here soon. I make this pie pretty regularly and never hear complaints. To keep us from getting bored of this menu staple, I've taken liberties with the recipe over the years. We all quickly decided that this one, filled with Greek flavors, is our favorite version.

The original recipe was basically white rice, spinach, feta and eggs, topped with cheddar cheese but for this post I wanted to mix it up a bit. Erin and I often bounce ideas off of one another, sharing recipes frequently, and after brainstorming together decided that some added Greek-oomph would make this dish shine.

I upgraded the white rice to brown rice for the added fiber and other nutritional benefits and mixed in lemon, herbs and olives. I did struggle with the topping, thinking that cheddar was a little off-theme, but the bubbly, gooey cheese on this is a must, so I went with it. Enjoy this served with a spinach or Greek salad on the side.

For 6 Servings:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 10 ounces (280 grams) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 10 kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400f (200c). Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and saute the onions and the garlic for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the flour and salt. Gradually add the milk, stirring with a whisk until well-blended. Stirring constantly, bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and gently stir in the cooked rice, feta, eggs, lemon juice, herbs, spinach and olives.

Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top and bake for 30-35 minutes.

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