Monday, October 25, 2010

yigandes me spanaki

Opah!  Opah in Greek is a declaration of celebration or joy.  Supper club was Greek theme this month and after my work week and knowing the ladies I would be spending the evening with I was running to dinner and screaming opah down the street as I left my house.  I love my kids but, mama needed some ouzo.  I counted on the company being good but, I had no idea how amazing the meal would be.  Everything from the ouzo heavy greek goddess martinis to the sweat and nutty baklava was down right delicious.  I had a side dish.  I wanted to stretch the bounds a bit and try a traditional greek side.  I love the combination of spinach, leeks and feta so, I was drawn to this recipe.  Many of the side included yigandes beans which are basically a large lima bean.  The fact that this incorporated the bean as well intrigued me.  My box this week happened to include spinach, leeks and tomatoes which was nice to be able to include farm fresh ingredients.  The side dish was good and definitely had the greek flavors.  Next time I will up the spinach slightly and possibly another tomato for a bit more liquid.  The recipe said 1 hour and 30 minutes cook time but, after an hour it was done and possibly a bit too dry.

yigandes me spanaki: 
spinach, bean and feta casserole

  • 1 pound of fresh spinach (or16oz frozen chopped spinach)
  • 1/2 pound of yigandes beans
  • 1 leek, just the white stalk; finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of green onions; finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh dill, thick stems removed, finely chopped
  • 6 oz of feta cheese; crumbled
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes; seeded, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of dried bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
* Soak the beans in a large bowl of water overnight. The next day, drain and transfer to a large soup pot. Cover with cold water (at least 3 times as much water as beans) and bring to a boil over high heat. When a full boil is reached, reduce heat and cook at a slow boil for 1 hour. Transfer to a colander to drain and set aside.

* Clean spinach well, trim roots, and discard any damaged leaves. Chop coarsely and put in a large bowl or plastic tub. (If using frozen defrost and let drain in a colander).

* Taking one handful of spinach at a time, squeeze gently but firmly over the sink to remove most excess liquid, and place spinach in a colander. When all the spinach has been squeezed, toss with salt and set aside to drain. 

* Preheat oven to 340°F.  Oil an medium roasting or baking pan (with 2 1/2 inch sides).

* In a large bowl or plastic tub, combine spinach, onions, leeks, dill, and 1/2 the feta cheese. 

* Distribute 1/2 the spinach mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Add the beans to make an even layer, and place the remaining spinach mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, then add the chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle with pepper. Pour oil over the top, and finish with an even dusting of bread crumbs. 

* Bake for about 1 hour.

Remove from oven and let sit for 20-30 minutes before serving. This dish is generally served warm or at room temperature.

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