I love Mediterranean food. The spices, the aroma, the pesentation - what's not to love... We have a local Greek and Mediterranean Restaurant called the Cazba. They serve the most heavenly Spanakopita sided with chicken and a white wine cream sauce. You can not help but make that ummmmmm sound with each and every bite. I have always wanted to try to create this dish in my own kitchen but have been a little intimidated. Well, among my many cookbooks I came across what seemed to me to be the perfect Spanakopita recipe. This recipe is found in a cookbook titled: “Park Avenue Potluck” and is a compilation of recipes from “New York’s Savviest Hostesses”. It is a great book and I will be testing many of the dishes. The contributor for this dish is Catherine Carey. The following is her recipe. The recipe for the chicken and cream sauce will follow.
Spanakopita (spinach pie in phyllo dough)
You will need….
3 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch green onions – trimmed, with some green left on – chopped
¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
5 large eggs, beaten
2 ½ cups coarsely crumbled feta cheese – about 8 ounces
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound phyllo pastry, thawed
1 stick unsalted butter melted
Place the spinach in a microwave-safe container and thaw completely. Squeeze all excess moisture out in paper towels or by putting the spinach into a potato ricer and pressing. Transfer it to a large bowl.
To the bowl, add the oil, green onions, parsley, dill, eggs and cheese. Mix until well blended. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread the stack of phyllo on a work surface and cover with three sheets of paper towel that have been wet, then wrung out until nearly dry.
Brush a baking dish about 10x13 inches, with a little of the butter. Place a sheet of the phyllo into the dish, spread lightly with butter, add another sheet of phyllo, brush with butter and continue until there are 8 sheets in the dish. Spread the spinach mixture into the dish, then top with another 8 sheets of phyllo, buttering each as it is added. Butter the top.
With a sharp knife, score the top sheets of phyllo, down to the filling. I scored on the diagonal and then again in the opposite direction, making sort of a diamond pattern.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle the top of the phyllo with a little water and place in the oven. Bake about 55 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool 15 minutes. Then cut through where the phyllo was scored. Serve warm.
This is the recipe for the chicken and cream sauce. I adapted it from a recipe found on a blog called “Full Bellies, Happy Kids”. It is truly delicious and a great partner for the spinach pie.
Chicken in Cream Sauce
4 chicken breasts, skinless - I cut mine into 1 inch slices.
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup butter or margarine
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup white wine or chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons dried parsley
3/4 cup whipping cream
( I also added ¼ cup capers – drained)
In a bowl mix flour, salt and pepper. Coat chicken well, shake off excess.
In a large skillet melt the butter, add the chicken and cook until brown on both sides and fully cooked through. If you're using thin breasts they should take about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Remove the chicken and set aside, add the mushrooms and wine or chicken stock to the skillet, cook for about 2 minutes
Add parsley, capers and the whipping cream, cook over low heat stirring continually until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.
Serve sauce over chicken – and the spinach pie.
Link for Full Bellies, Happy Kids blog site:
Link for cookbook: