Spinach Pies Recipe

So, we’re at that point in the moving phase, where we’re starting to look at pre-move bucket lists : things we want to do here, before moving to Canada.

For me, that means spending time with friends when possible. For my husband – who grew up here – it’s more things like going to the State Fair, Valley Fair, etc one last time. Also: Have me create a great Spinach Pie recipe. There’s a great local Lebanese deli – Emily’s – that makes spinach pies that he adores.

While we’d usually go for a direct replica when it comes to something like this, he decided he preferred to have a bit of fun with it, developing a custom filling. So, if you’re looking for an Emily’s knockoff, this is not the recipe you’re looking for! (It is definitely in the same ballpark, though.)

To adjust it a bit more to my husband’s tastes, there is more filling than in the source material, as well as flavour additions like kalamata olives. Ours features an egg glaze, giving the outside of the crust a bit of sheen, and a bit of bite/crunch. For a softer finished crust, skip the egg glaze.

Enjoy!

Makes 6 large hand pies

1 cup warm – not hot – water
4 tsp yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
5 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
½ cup sour cream
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 eggs, beaten

4 packets frozen chopped spinach (40 oz total), defrosted
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
4 oz crumbled feta
3 Tbsp finely chopped kalamata olives
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 oz pine nuts, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 cup plain yogurt
Salt and pepper

1 egg
1 Tbsp water

Stir yeast and sugar into warm water, allow to stand for 10 minutes – it should get very bubbly.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl: combine flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, stir well to combine. Add sour cream, olive oil, and eggs; mix well to combine.

Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead until soft and elastic, 5-10 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, make your filling:

Squeeze all of the water out of the spinach, set aside.

In a large pan, saute onion in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add spinach and garlic, stir well to combine, cook over medium heat until liquid is completely gone. Remove from heat.

Stir in feta, olives, dill, pine nuts, lemon zest, and nutmeg, stirring until well combined. Add yogurt, stir until completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Once dough has doubled, punch it down, and divide it out. We divided the mixture into 6 equally sized balls, – but you can make them smaller by dividing into 8 sized pieces.

Preheat oven to 350 , line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stretch each dough ball into a round, approximately 8″ diameter. Scoop about 3/4 cup of filling into the center (1/2 cup, if making smaller ones), and fold the edges in to make a triangle, as shown below:

Gently flatten each pie out to about 1″ thick.

Once you have all of your pies formed, set them on lined baking sheets to rise for another 10 minutes.

Whisk egg together with 1 Tbsp of water, brush over the tops and sides of each hand pie. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve warm or room temperature, with tzatziki dip, if desired. (I have a great recipe for it in More Than Poutine!). Wrap any unused pies in plastic and chill until use.

Moroccan Spiced Lamb Burgers with Pea Hummus, Goat Cheese, and Beets

The other day, I posted a recipe that was the indirect result of my husband’s recent business trip to Ireland: Tandoori Spiced Chicken Burgers with Mango. Insane!

Today I’m posting the first “inspired by that trip” recipe I actually made – the day after he got back. Yes, tired, jetlagged, and just happy to be home, I dragged his ass to the grocery store to get ingredients for it. To be fair, he shouldn’t have shown me his photo and told me about what was in it. He knows what I’m like 🙂

This was developed based on the burger he actually ordered at G Counter, whereas the Tandoori one was based entirely upon a menu description. What he was attracted to about this burger in Ireland was that it’s SO different from anything he’s ever seen locally. Also: he’s addicted to beets.

We made this up as 2 giant burgers, and were full all day. It would definitely work as smaller burgers – 3 or 4 of them. Actually, I bet these would be super cute and elegant if done up as a tray of sliders!

This has many layers of flavour, all of which complement each other without being overwhelming. It’s a very satisfying burger! Additionally, this can be made gluten-free with the appropriate choice of bun (or exclusion of the bun, which is how I had it!)

Moroccan Spiced Lamb Burgers with Pea Hummus, Goat Cheese, and Beets

Makes 2-4 burgers

12 oz Goat cheese
1/3 cup Heavy cream
1 tsp Lemon zest
salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp mint
1 clove garlic

1 lb ground lamb
1/4 cup grated onion
1 Egg
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
Pinch cinnamon

Burger bun of choice
Thinly sliced roasted beets

In a small food processor, using a stick blender, or whisking by hand, blend together the goat cheese, heavy cream, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover and chill until use.

In a medium saucepan, cover peas with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, drain well. Place cooked peas, olive oil, lemon juice, mint, and garlic into a food processor, blitz until smoothish. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover and chill until use.

In a large bowl, combine lamb, onion, egg, garlic, cilantro, and spices. Gently use hands to get a really good mix going, making sure that everything is evenly distributed and well incorporated. Divide meat mixture into 2-4 evenly sized balls. Flatten each ball into a patty that is roughly the size of your burger buns – maybe a little larger.

Grill over medium heat until fully cooked.

To assemble:

Spread goat cheese on upper buns, pea hummus on lower buns. Place burger on lower bun, top with sliced beets and upper bun.

Enjoy!

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Quick Falafel Patties

As with many ethnic recipes – well, recipes in general, I suppose – there is a traditional way to do it, and there are the nontraditional ways to do it.

Generally speaking, non traditional versions usually act as a workaround to some unwieldly aspect of the original – a hard to come by ingredient, a specialty piece of equipment, etc. In some cases, it’s simply a matter of saving time.

Such is the case with my quick version of falafel. Traditionally, these are made from dried chick peas – soaked overnight and then ground down for the batter, and then deep fried. In this version, we strain canned chickpeas, and use the addition of garbanzo/fava flour to prevent them from falling apart. (Falafel made traditionally does not require the addition of flour to keep the patties together.) The use of bean flour – rather than a wheat flour – makes these not ONLY fast, but also gluten free!

Enjoy!

Quick Falafel Patties

1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
15 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained well
1 egg
1/4 cup garbanzo/fava flour
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
pepper
pinch cayenne
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil

Process onion, garlic, and half of the beans till smooth. Add remaining ingredients (aside from remaining beans and olive oil), process till smooth. Add remaining beans, process till new beans are small but chunky.

Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan, swirl to coat well. Use a large Tablespoon, 1/4 cup measure, or cookie scoop to drop balls of batter into fry pan, carefully flatten them a bit. Fry for a couple minutes on the first side, flipping when golden brown. Fry on other side until also golden brown.

Serve hot, with tahini or a cucumber dill dip.

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How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.