Part One - In which a baking neophyte watches the Great British Baking Show and thinks, without any basis in reality, “I can do that.”
It looked doable. Not easy, but only few ingredients and a lot of hard (but simple) labor. After watching the Great British Baking show I was determined to take a run at Spanikopita. Just like the judges requested, I was a little inventive with my ingredients. Spinach, onions, garlic, chopped mushrooms (for creativity) and feta cheese. All sautéed to form a great “filling.”
The Phyllo. I needed 8 paper thin sheets.
Ingredients were simple - Flour, water, vinegar, salt and lemon juice. The acidity, I learned, gives strength to the dough allowing it to be s t r e c h e d. Made the dough per instructions. Lots of kneading and me imitating what I had seen on tv by making a thick rope of the dough and slamming it repeatedly on a cutting board. It did get silky smooth. First lesson - appearances are deceiving and cannot be relied on. Rested it, cut it into eight equal pieces and commenced the rolling, and rolling, and rolling, and …..
Lesson Two - the dough fights back, All that gluten does what it is supposed to do. You roll the dough out and it springs back to almost the original size. But I persevered, rolling and hand stretching , and created eight thin sheets. Could I read a paper through each sheet Not really. Lesson Three - they mean what they say. Keep rolling until you can read the paper.
Brushed each sheet with olive oil. Layered four in a baking dish, added the filling, added four more sheets. And Baked.
Let's cut to the chase - two solid (not light and airy) layers of dough. The top one tough and crunchy. The bottom soggy. Filling in between.
Denise, trying to shine a good light on things, said the top layer showed me I could make crackers.
Part Two - In which we strive for redemption.
Not surprisingly, the top lifted off the “Spanakopita” like lifting the lid off a pot. There was all the delicious filling. It cannot go to waste!
Scooped out the filling and chilled it overnight in the fridge. Bought some organic ground lamb - still thinking Greek.
Mixed the lamb with the filling and rolled it into small meatballs. Browned the meatballs in a cast iron pan. The feta, where it was on the outside of the meatball, formed a lovely crust. Took out the meatballs and strained off the fat. Deglazed the pan. There were lots of delicious brown scraps. Made a light roux, stirred it into the broth for a little thickening. Salt and pepper to taste.
Denise made some great brown rice (using our trusty rice cooker) and we were saved!
Redemption - Greek style lamb meatballs over rice.
Now that Rob has redeemed himself what should we pair with the meatballs?