An easy greek spinach chicken bake, filled with spinach, salty feta cheese, garlic, grilled chicken and a flakey buttery crust. A fun family dinner that everyone will love.
I am a big fan of greek food. I had the pleasure of visiting the Mediterranean a while back and that introduced me to a whole love affair of all things greek. The food in Greece is absolutely phenomenal. I still dream about it. One of my favorite foods was spanakopita. It’s a savory Greek pastry, filled with spinach and feta cheese. I have always wanted to attempt to make them at home but have been terrified because they are made with phyllo dough. Are any of you familiar with phyllo? It’s a tissue paper thin dough that is a flakey and buttery like a croissant. I have heard that it is difficult to work with and that’s kept all spanakopita whims at bay. I was at the grocery store the other day and happened to stumble across phyllo dough in the frozen food isle and that sent me day dreaming about sunny days lounging along the beautiful seacoast of Greece. I decided right then and there to put all fear aside and tossed it in the cart.
I decided to make the classic spinach filled pastries but as a big pie, casserole style. This way it would be quicker and easier. I used classic Greek ingredients; onions, garlic, spinach, and feta cheese.
I love feta cheese, I really do. It’s got such a tangy salty bite and makes my heart happy. Although it isn’t traditional, I added diced chicken because I wanted to make it a complete meal and to have some protein for my meat loving husband.
I am pleased to say that phyllo dough was so much easier to work with than I had anticipated. However, there are a few tips for working with the dough. First off, prep all your ingredients and make the filling before opening your dough. Phyllo is very thin and dries out quickly so the less time it is exposed to air, the better. Make sure that your hands are very dry before touching the dough. If by chance the phyllo dough rips, fear not! The tear will blend right in with the other layers. Keep a damp kitchen towel handy to cover the remaining dough while you are brushing the phyllo with butter. I love phyllo so I used 12 sheets to top my Greek chicken spinach bake but you can feel free to adjust this to your preference.
I can’t tell you how much we loved this dish. It brought me right back to the sandy shores and sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean. Now I am dreaming up ways to convince my husband to take me back. I’ll let you know how that goes. 😉
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Large White Onion, diced
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 (10 oz.) Boxes Frozen Spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry of water
- ½ lb. Feta Cheese, crumbled
- 1½ Cups Grilled Chicken Breast, diced (about 1 large breast)
- 2 Eggs
- ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 1 Teaspoon Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 18 Phyllo Dough Sheets, defrosted
- ½ Cup Butter
- Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9x13 baking dish and set aside. In a skillet, heat olive oil. Add in onion and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add in spinach, feta, and diced chicken breast. Cook for an additional 5 minutes and remove from heat. In a small bowl beat the eggs and then stir in the parmesan cheese, pepper, and dried oregano. Allow the spinach mixture to cool for 5-10 minutes before adding in the egg mixture so that the eggs do not scramble. Melt butter in a small bowl. At this point open the phyllo dough. Carefully lay one sheet of phyllo dough into the prepared baking dish. With a pastry brush, brush the top of the phyllo dough with melted butter. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on the top and brush with melted butter. Repeat until you have 6 sheets of phyllo dough. Spread the spinach mixture over the top of the phyllo dough. Layer with remaining 12 layers of phyllo dough, brushing each layer with melted butter. With a sharp knife score the top layer of the phyllo dough into 8 evenly cut slices. Make sure not to cut into filling. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until phyllo dough is golden brown. Serve immediately.