Spinach and cheese parcels (empanada de espinacas y queso)

Once I got the empanada de atun [savoury tuna parcels] properly tested and under control, I decided to expand to other combinations. Not knowing where to start, I turned to Carlos Horrillo and Patrick Morcas, whom seemed to favor  spinach, cream cheese and spinach. If it is good enough for Patrick and Carlos, it is also good enough for me…. I am actually quite fond of spinach, which helped a bit my decision. Of course, living in Switzerland, the Cheddar in the original recipe had to be replaced by Emmentaler. No one noticed seemed to complain – if anything it conformed better to the taste of hardened expats living in Switzerland for longer than they want to admit. All in all, a great dish to serve when the occasion requires food easy to eat or informal gatherings. For bonus, it is vegetarian and all the greenies make it look a bit more healthy than its tuna fish counterpart. Eat warm or cold, with a beer or a glass of red wine.

Spinach and cheese parcels (empanada de espinacas y queso, adapted from Carlos Horrillo and Patrick Morcas’ Tapas: Simple Flavours, Striking Combinations)

Ingredients

  • 2 packets ready of read-rolled puff pastry (one for the bottom, the other to cover it)
  • 800g of fresh spinach, washed
  • 100g of full fat creamy cheese, like Philadelphia 
  • 100g of grated Emmentaler cheese 
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 slightly beaten egg

Method

1. Coat the bottom of a heavy bottom non sticky pan with olive oil and put it on high heat, until the olive oil is smoking hot.

2. Drop the the spinach leaves inside, season whit salt and turn the leaves until they start to wilt.

3. Transfer the leaves to  sieve lined with kitchen paper, so it absorbs the bitter liquids.

4. Allow to cool, and put them in a large mixing bowl.

5. Add both cheeses to the spinach and mix everything together until it is homogenous.

6. Allow to cool overnight in the fridge

7. Heat the oven to 200 oC

8. Line the bottom and walls of the rectangular baking tray previously buttered. Pinch it with a fork and fold in the e spinach and cheese mixture.

9. Put the second sheet of puff pastry on top, and close the edges trimming the excess pastry. Seal with the beaten egg. You can brush the whole surface to look shiny.

10. Leave in the stove for about 20m (or according to the  instructions), until the pastry is done.

 

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