When was the last time I posted an entry with a recipe in it?! Time has not been on my side the past few weeks, as I have been struggling to finish up my final weeks of school. I have turned into the typical University student relying on my parents to cook for me or rummaging through my fridge to eat whatever is fastest so that I have time to read one more play or write one more essay, and I don't think that cereal or toast would be a very thrilling entry.
Luckily last night my sister had pulled out a package of phyllo pastry from the freezer to thaw and had saved the leftovers for me to use! When I know I have the option of cooking or baking with phyllo it's like a lightbulb goes off in my head as I brainstorm the endless possibilities of how you can fill this flaky buttery pastry! Because I was still conscious of time and being economical to use what was in my fridge, I decided to pull out the convenient, yet nutrient rich, frozen spinach from the freezer. Adding a little onion to the mix, some spice, and my good friend goat cheese, we have got a delicious, simple, and quick dinner on our hands...and one that Popeye would love!
Note: Phyllo pastry can, at times, seem very frustrating to work with but don't worry, although the sheets of dough are extremely delicate, they are also very forgiving. If there is a rip or tear in one sheet, don't fret because you are just going to layer another sheet right on top! No one will know!
Note: Even though the pastry is layered in butter, this is still a healthy dish because of the amount of spinach in it. Spinach is very high in iron and fiber, which helps to build muscle and protects against weight gain and heart disease.
Tip: Experiment with different fillings for your phyllo bundles. Try adding your favourite nut into the mix. Pine nuts would taste delicious with this filling in particular.
about 8 sheets of phyllo pastry
3/4 cup water
1 package of frozen spinach
1/2 of an onion (chopped)
1/3 - 1/2 cup goat cheese (depending on your taste)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
olive oil for frying
salt and pepper to season
melted butter for brushing onto pastry
1. In a frying pan set to medium high, add 3/4 cup water and boil. Once boiling, add spinach and break up with a spatula or fork. Once, thawed, transfer to a colander and drain well.
2. While spinach is draining, heat olive oil in the same pan and add onion and red pepper flakes. Cook, while stirring, until onion becomes soft and almost translucent.
3. Add drained spinach to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Combine the ingredients together in the pan. Remove from heat.
4. Prepare phyllo pastry by carefully, brushing each layer with melted butter. You will need 5-6 layers of dough. Carefully cut the dough so that you have 2 long rectangles of about 6 inches width.
5. Add desired amount of filling to corners at the end of each rectangle and cut slices of goat cheese to place on top. Fold pastry and filling into triangles. To learn how to fold your dough into triangles, see here. Repeat the pastry preparation until filling is used up (about 4 large bundles).
6. Place triangles on a baking sheet and bake in a 350º oven for about 10-15 min, or until bundles are slightly browned.