Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Eat Your Spinach
Remember when Popeye would open that can of spinach and pour it down his throat and instantly his arms and chest would puff up into big muscles? That would be really weird if a real person could do that. And a little freaky. And I certainly wouldn't want to eat canned spinach. I will eat frozen spinach, though, and of course fresh.
Awhile back someone asked me if I had a recipe for Spanikopita, which is kind of like a Greek turnover with spinach and feta that is wrapped up in phyllo dough. I haven't attempted that yet, mostly because working with phyllo dough is time consuming and it's very delicate. But I loved the idea of the filling. I looked in my freezer the other day, and I had one sheet of puff pastry. So I decided I would do a play on Spanikopita and make some homemade hot pockets with the spinach and feta. But I didn't really stick to a traditional recipe. I wanted to add more cheese and shredded chicken. And they turned out great! I really loved these Cheesy Chicken "Spanikopita" Pockets. They were easy to make, and they reheat really well in the oven. And, no, I didn't get any instant muscles.
CHEESY CHICKEN "SPANIKOPITA" POCKETS
2 C cooked, shredded chicken
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed (see note below)
One 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
One 4-ounce container of crumbled feta cheese
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 T Italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 egg plus a splash of water (for the egg wash)
NOTE: Since I only had one sheet of puff pastry, I made four rather large pockets that I could only eat half of at a time. The filling is enough to easily make eight smaller pockets, so you can decide how many you want to make.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small skillet, cook the shallots for a couple of minutes in some olive oil until they are tender. Add in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Put the spinach in a towel and squeeze out as much of the water as you can. Put the spinach in a bowl. Add in the chicken, shallots/garlic, feta, Mozzarella, the 2 eggs, oregano, parsley, and season with salt and pepper and mix the filling all together.
Roll out the puff pastry to stretch it out bigger. Cut the sheet into 4 equal squares (or 8 if you're making smaller ones). Divide the filling into 4 (or 8 for smaller ones) and place equal portions on each puff pastry square. Fold the puff pastry dough around the filling, stretching if necessary to seal. Flip them over, seam-side down, and press them and shape them into a square or rectangle. Place the pockets on a greased sheet pan. Cut four little slits in the tops. Mix the egg and the splash of water together and brush the tops of the pockets. Bake them for about 30-35 minutes or until they are well browned and the dough is fully cooked.