The Gluten Free Vegetarian Gourmet: Fancy Spinach Pie Recipe or Spinach Cottage Pie Recipe

spinachpiewf3.jpgspinachpiewf5.jpgOne of my favorite recipes for holidays and dinner parties has long been a certain spinach pie recipe that one of my dearest friends shared with me. This recipe combines simple ingredients with amazing results, and is a great way to enjoy your spinach! The most time consuming part of this recipes has been the rolling out of persnickety Gluten free pastry crust. I have made very tasty pie crusts using Bette Hagman’s Dream Pastry recipe, the Gluten Free Pantry’s Perfect Pie Crust Mix, or even just winging it with a regular pie crust recipe converted to be gluten free, but they are admittedly time consuming. Some time back I had the exciting idea to use a Chebe mix to make Gluten Free Chebe Spinach Tartlets with very yummy results. I was also inspired by the amazing Karina and her new allergies to make a Dairy Free Allergy friendly spinach pie recipe. But this wasn’t the end of my experimenting with this recipe. Recently DH and I discovered the extremely dangerous (for our waistline) and delicious gluten free prepared pie crusts made by the Whole Foods GF Bakehouse. They cost about $3 per crust in California, where prices are higher than the south or east coast that is closer to their dedicated baking facility, but it is a price that seems worthwhile to me due to the time and effort involved in rolling out dough. DH has been busy making apple and pumpkin pie. For the apple, because the crust doesn’t have a top crust, DH threw together a yummy crumble and topped the pie with that. It was perfect! However, I had been eying the last crust in our fridge covetously for some time, and finally decided to try using it for a savory spinach pie. I was VERY glad I did- but it really does become a health hazard, as DH stubbornly refuses to eat anything involving that much spinach (he is the first person who has not raved about my precious pie recipe, wouldn’t you know it), so I end up having to eat the whole thing myself. This is day three, and it’s a tough job but I guess I’ll just have to have the last slice for my lunch. Oh, the agony. Woe is me. Yum yum yum yum. Anyway, this is a subtle variation of previous recipes, with gently caramelized onions and fresh garlic to add extra flavor to the recipe. The Whole Foods pie crust makes this recipe so easy, if it weren’t for the calories, I might be tempted to have it every week… Oh yes, and if you don’t want the butter in the Whole Foods crust, or don’t live near a store but still don’t want to roll out a darned thing (and who can blame you!) why not try converting this into an unconventional Spinach Cottage pie? Take leftover or freshly made garlic mashed potatoes and top the spinach filling with that. DH gave the cottage pie version thumbs up- although he mostly ate the topping, tsk tsk tsk. So, here are two EASY ways to enjoy spinach pie, just in time for the holidays. Keep in mind that when hot the filling is somewhat liquidy- but when cold it’s nice and firm, so it just depends on how important structural integrity is to you. The pie tastes great hot OR cold.

Caramelized Onion and Garlic Spinach Pie
Ingredients
2 bags or 2-3 pkgs of fresh spinach

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. margarine or butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 fresh garlic cloves, pressed
2 tbsp finely ground brown rice flour
3 or 4 cups lowfat milk
1 tbsp or more garlic powder (or to taste)
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

GF Pie crust (I used Whole Foods GF Bakehouse)
OR
Garlic mashed potatoes
with extra cheese if desired

Directions
Bake GF pie crust for 10-20 minutes, according to recipe, at 375 sprinkled with garlic powder.

Cook spinach in a dutch oven with a little water and then drain in a strainer. Cut into bite sized pieces and reserve.

Melt/heat olive oil and margarine in nonstick or cast iron pan. When margarine has barely melted but pan is hot, add onion and, after a minute or so, add pressed garlic. Don’t let burn, but try not to move around too much so that they get all caramelized and yummy. When they look translucent and a little brown, add brown rice flour and mix into a paste, letting brown as a roux for as long as desired, but without burning. Add milk slowly, one half cup at a time and whisk in so you get a smooth sauce. Let it thicken and continue adding milk gradually. Add garlic powder to taste (really, taste it) and, when you have a nice white sauce, turn off the heat and add your cheese. (You can use more or less cheese, to taste.)When cheese has melted, add your spinach and mix until thoroughly combined.

Pour into prepared pie crust
OR
Pour into pie pan OR gratin dishes. Take garlic mashed potatoes (if you have plain mashed potatoes, melt 1 tbsp margarine and combine 1/2 tsp or more of garlic powder, then stir into potatoes) and put into ziploc bag with hole cut out one corner to make a pastry bag. Sprinkle Spinach pie filling with any seasonings (i sprinkled paprika) and then gently put pressure on bag with mashed potatoes to release stream of crust, curling it on top of the spinach filling. Squish down until flat and top with additional cheddar cheese if you want.

Bake pie for 20-25 minutes or so, or until top is brown and looks firm. It will be somewhat liquidy until it cools, so don’t worry.

Enjoy!


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