I love me some phyllo dough. It makes everything taste good. Better yet there is an endless amount of things that you can wrap inside them. Last night, I had a craving for phyllo and after a quick survey of my fridge I decided that this evenings phyllo stars would be onion, mushrooms, and goat cheese. Sort of a twist on Spanikopita, if you will.
I know that working with phyllo can be a bit daunting if you have never used it before, but once you get the hang of it you just won't be able to stop yourself from using it. Even while making these I was thinking of other delicious fillings for next time. Maybe we should all band together and form a support group.
So without further ado, the recipe, my friends.
Just kidding. First, a note about phyllo:
It is one of those things that can seem daunting, but really isn't all that difficult to master. There are a few tricks however. The first is to be sure to set your dough out to thaw to room temperature on its own. No shortcuts here. No microwaving, blow drying, blow torching, or anything else you can think of. Trust me. As a procrastinator I have tried many a time to outsmart the phyllo and it just doesn't work.
Second, the phyllo will dry out quickly making it almost impossible to work with. When I use phyllo I put a damp (definitely not wet or soaked) towel over the phyllo to keep it moist. I keep it on there the whole time. I remove it every time i grab a piece of phyllo and put it back in between. If sounds annoying, but it gives you time to work. Otherwise, the phyllo dries out way too quickly to use.
Lastly, phyllo breaks really easily. Don't sweat it. I have never once seen a phyllo recipe that calls for only one sheet of phyllo. You will always be layering it. The phyllo will mend itself in the layers. What a great invention, right?!?
16-20 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
1/2 c olive oil plus 2tbs (or butter if you are feeling frisky)
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small to medium sized onion, finely chopped
1 c largely sliced mushrooms
16-20 oz fresh spinach or 1 package frozen chopped spinach
4 oz. goat cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Saute the onion over medium heat until they begin to turn translucent, approximately 6 minutes. Add Salt and Pepper to taste ( I used about one teaspoon of each).
While it sautes mince the garlic and then heat it in half a cup of olive oil (or butter). Heat it over a low heat until just before the garlic starts to brown, about five minutes.
Once your onions are ready add the mushrooms and cook until just before the mushrooms lose their liquid, about another 6 minutes.
If you are using the frozen spinach go ahead and defrost it so it has time to cool a bit. Alternatively, if you are using fresh spinach add it at the last minute to your onion-mushroom saute and cook it until it wilts.
Once your saute is done let it cool for a few minutes then mix the onion-mushroom saute, spinach, and eggs together in a large bowl. Then crumble the goat cheese into the mixture being careful not to completely melt the goat cheese by stirring to much.
Now you are ready to assemble those pouches.
Take one sheet of phyllo dough and place it on your work surface. Brush the garlic olive oil onto the sheet, then repeat. Don't forget to cover it with your damp towel in between brushing. Take approximately 1/2 a cup of the filling and place it on the far end. Fold over the sides and then roll it almost like a burrito. Brush the outside of the pouch and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat this process until your filling is gone. It should make about 8. The pictures below show this process.
Once they are all on the baking sheep sprinkle it with the Parmesan and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the pouches are medium brown.