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Recipes: Spanakorizo (Greek rice with spinach) and more

When News December Cook of the Month Christina Schweitzer makes Lamb with Celeriac in Avgolemono for Christmas, it's often accompanied by Spanakorizo. That's how she put together the plate featured in today's Buffalo News.

She also offered a simple yogurt-and-nuts combination favored by her grandmother. Yiasou.

Spanakorizo (Spinach Rice)

A family favorite. Quick and easy either as a main course alone or as a side.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 pounds fresh spinach, trimmed, washed and chopped. You can substitute frozen (thawed, and drained of excess liquid. Preserve the liquid and use instead of water or broth.)

1 small bunch chopped fresh dill or parsley

1 cup long grain rice (instant brown rice works well too. Do not use regular brown rice as it prolongs the cooking time)

1 ¼ cup vegetable broth or water

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add rice and sauté gently for about 5 minutes.

Add spinach, fresh dill or parsley and cook until just wilted. Dissolve the tomato paste in the broth (or water) and add to pot. Bring the liquid to a slow boil, cover and lower heat to medium low. Let simmer (about 30 - 40 minutes).

Halfway though cooking time, taste for salt and pepper and stir gently. If the spanakorizo appears too dry add a little water or broth. Make sure that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pot.  If it is too soupy, continues to simmer uncovered.

Serve with a drizzle of lemon juice and Yiayia’s Tzaziki. 

Yogurt with Honey and Fresh Shelled Nuts

My Yiayia used to serve this yogurt and honey dessert, claiming that it was great for the digestion.  She would put us to work cracking open walnuts and almonds that we gathered out in the orchard. This is a wonderful and healthy dessert that can be enjoyed any time - even for breakfast.

Ingredients:

1/2 - 3/4 cup of strained Greek full fat yogurt per serving

1 tablespoon of Greek thyme honey per serving (any good quality honey will do)

Crushed walnuts and/or almonds (optional, but do try)

Sprinkle of ground cinnamon and/or cloves.

Preparation:

Plate yogurt in individual bowls, drizzle honey over the yogurt and sprinkle with almonds, walnuts, and spices. Enjoy.

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Food and Drink
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