Monday, February 4, 2013

Worlds Easiest Spinach Pie Tutorial & Recipe

This is the worlds easiest spinach pie!  I came up with this originally because I purchase big bags of spinach at Costco on a regular basis.  We love spinach at our house.  I needed to use some of it up one day and came up with this.

Make your favorite pie crust recipe.  I find the one on the back of the Crisco container to be a good one.  In this case I measured 1 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/3 cup of shortening into the food processor and gave it a few quick pulses.  Then add about 1/4 cup of ice cold water and give a few more pulses until it comes together.  Do not whir it in the processor until the dough forms a ball.  It will still be crumbly but moist, and it will form a ball when you take it out of the food processor.  You don't want to overwork the dough but mix it just enough to come together.  If you over work the dough, it will be tough.  You want tender dough.  

Roll out your dough and place into your pie dish.  Go ahead and prick the bottom with a fork.  This prevents air bubbles from forming under the dough while it bakes.

Set the pie crust to one side.  Now here comes the really easy part for the filling.  

I use fresh spinach so I steam the washed spinach in a pot.  Just rinse the spinach and drain it, dump it in a pot with a lid and steam until all wilted and cooked.  There is no need to add additional water to the pot as there is enough water clinging to the leaves to do the job.   Then dump it into a big strainer and let cool some.  You will then need to squeeze out the extra moisture with your clean hands until it forms a ball like the one pictured here.  If you use frozen spinach, just let it thaw and then squeeze into a ball to get the extra moisture out.  I like to use about a pound of spinach per pie to give it flavor.
Now here comes the super easy and super flexible part of this entire recipe!  

 Since a pie holds 4 cups of fillings, I came up with the recipe in this manner.  Take a 4 cup measuring cup and we will be filling it with ingredients.  This means there is no need to measure individual ingredients.  Take your spinach and plop in the bottom of the measuring cup.  Then crack open 3 eggs and place in the measuring cup.  From there the sky is the limit.  I put in a big hunk of onion, some feta cheese and some big hunks of cheddar cheese.  I was out of milk this time so I put some sour cream to give it creamy richness.  Add whatever seasonings you want (if any, the cheese in this case adds enough salt) and then fill the cup to the 4 cup mark with milk.  In this case I added water in addition to the sour cream.  If you are unsure that the pie will set up, go ahead and add 1/8 cup or so of flour to the cup as well. 

Dump the whole lot into your food processor that you made the pie crust in.  I don't even bother to wash between stages.  It does not matter with this recipe.  Go ahead and just use it.  The little bit of flour left in the food processor from making the pie dough will not hurt the filling. 

Then just pulse the whole thing until it is finely chopped up.  Do not puree it!  You want it to have a little bit of texture.  See, wasn't that easy?  You don't have to grate cheese or onions or get all fussy about it.  It all mixes together and is chopped up perfectly.

Next just pour the entire thing into your pie crust.  Assuming that you did everything correctly, it should just fill the pie crust perfectly with no waste at all.   I measured slightly over 4 cups here but it all fit into the pie just fine.  Then I sliced some tomato and places a bit of feta cheese on top before placing into the oven.  

Preheat the oven to 400 and bake for 15 minutes and then turn down the oven without peeking at the pie, to 375 and bake another 45 minutes.  Depending on which ingredients you used, it might need a little more time.  Go ahead and take it out of the oven when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and not coated with egg. 

This is best if you let it rest a bit before slicing and serving as it will firm up some.  If you try serving too soon, it might still be a little loose.  

I like this served with some fruit on the side.  It makes for a super simple dinner or brunch.  We add a variety of ingredients to this and this makes a great clean out the fridge type pie.  It really isn't a quiche but is kind of based on one.  Just let your imagination go wild with what you want to add.  The only rule is that you must use at least 3-4 eggs per pie, and you need something creamy added to it for texture.  I was thinking a Reuben pie might be good, by adding Swiss cheese, kraut and corned beef... I might have to give it a try and see.  It only takes minutes to make this with the food processor and you have no waste by using the 4 cup measuring cup to know you have just the right amount of ingredients to fill a pie.  

Sometimes when I make this people ask for the recipe.  There is no recipe, with the exception to the general rules I just highlighted.  When I try to explain I get the deer in the headlights look staring back at me sometimes.  I thought if I made a pictorial that it might help with some of the confusion.   It is really simple, and really tasty.  Now go forth and make yourself a simple spinach pie!  I know you can! xxxxxxxx

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