16 March 2007

Greek-Style Rice with Spinach and Feta

I've been making Paula Wolfert's spinachy rice ever since I got Mediterranean Grains and Green eight years ago, but it had been a while since I made it recently. I'd usually followed the slightly simplified version I posted 2 years ago, but today I pulled out the cookbook to make the original again since I started making it in the days of nursing babies and frazzled dinners.

It was even better than I remembered. It's just a simple dish of rice, spinach, tomatoes, onions, and feta. The recipe calls for 2 pounds of spinach, but I think one pound is enough. It depends on if you're focusing on the rice or the spinach.

1 pound fresh spinach
4 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin really is worth it)
1/2 cup sliced green onions
3/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup pureed tomatoes, fresh or canned
3/4 cup rice
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, or 1-2 T dried
Salt
Red pepper
Crumbled feta

Wash the spinach well and drain. Sprinkle the leaves with salt and let stand for 30 minutes in a strainer. Rinse and squeeze out the water and shred a bit if desire.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch skillet. Add the green onions, onions, a pinch of salt, and 1/4 cup water and cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. When the water evaporates, slowly let the onions turn golden, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup water, the tomato puree, and the rice. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Spread the spinach and dill over the rice, cover, and cook 10 minutes longer till the rice is done. Mix well and add a bit more olive oil, and the salt and pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature garnish with feta.

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