Saturday, November 2, 2013

spanakoriso, three ways

It's fall, blah blah. The leaves are orange. Actually, some are still green here, even though it's November 2! I'm confused.

I've been hankering after spinach recently so I made this Greek Spinach and Rice dish. It's terribly simple and cheap. Here is the recipe straight from Greek Cooking For The Gods by Eva Zane.

Eva Zane's Spanakoriso
2 pounds fresh spinach
1 cup uncooked rice
2 medium onions minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 bay leaves
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Wash and dry the spinach, and tear into pieces. Saute the onions, garlic and rice in olive oil until the onions are soft and golden; add tomato sauce, and stir; add spinach, bay leaves, salt and pepper, mix well and add beef broth; cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

I didn't have fresh spinach so I used two 12-oz bags of frozen spinach. Although that sounds like it should be less than 2 pounds, I think it was weighed when frozen, so in fact it ended up being more spinach-heavy than I think it was supposed to.  We are out of olive oil so I substituted butter. I will go to confession tomorrow I guess. Additionally, I have no idea what she means by tomato sauce; perhaps paste? I didn't have that either, so I just dumped in a can of diced tomatoes. I would recommend using pureed tomatoes next time so that you don't have chunks, but my results are still very tasty.

Here's the way I made it, with the ingredients in the order in which they are used:

Mallory's Non-Lenten Spanakoriso
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup uncooked jasmine rice, rinsed
(1) 16 oz can tomatoes, diced
 (2) 12 oz packages frozen chopped spinach
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
2 cups homemade chicken broth

Saute onions, garlic and rice in butter until onions are golden and soft. Add tomatoes and stir. Add spinach and cover to steam and melt the spinach a bit. Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer about 25 minutes (longer to let the rice absorb the moisture from the frozen spinach.) Stir as needed, but cover it quickly so the rice can cook. When the rice is puffed up and edible, it's good.

This is how I would make it if I were fasting from olive oil, meat, etc and didn't want to use a barbaric oil like coconut or sesame in a Greek dish.

Mallory's Theoretical Lenten Spanakoriso
Same ingredients as above, except substitute veg broth or water. 

Cook the onions, rice and garlic in a little bit of broth (no more than it takes to moisten everything) to soften the onions. Then proceed as above.
You may need to add more salt to make it taste good.

I garnished my bowl of spanakoriso with kefir (you can use yogurt), lemon juice, salt, pepper, and like four drops of olive oil from our empty can. More olive oil would have been better! One time I added parmesan cheese, I don't know why, and it basically became a risotto. It strikes me that ground lamb or sausage would also be a good addition if you are very hungry and want this to be your main dish. But if you stick to the Greek method, you can't go wrong.

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