Greek Spinach Risotto (Spanakorizo)🌿🇬🇷

Spanakorizo is a classic nutritious dish which reminds us that simple, wholesome ingredients can come together to create something incredible.  The name spanakorizo is a composite of the two key ingredients: spanaki meaning spinach and rizi meaning rice. 

There is a lot of washing of a lot of spinach, but the effort is worth it. Apart from the washing, everything else is so simple that it kind of balances out. 

You will need a large pot for this recipe because the uncooked spinach takes up a lot of room, which then wilts down. Be prepared and start your washing earlier in the day, not when you are about to cook 💁🏼‍♀️

There are many variations to this recipe which are all great. This dish is great as a light meal or accompanied with your favourite meat or fish. Tastes great with olives and crusty bread and always some Dodoni Feta  or authentic Greek yoghurt like Procal Greek Yoghurt. Add toasted pinenuts for a vegetarian option. 

I sometimes add one 400g can of tomatoes at the same time that I add the water, to make this dish even tastier. 

If you have left overs, you can enjoy the next day for lunch too 😋

Ingredients 

  • 5 spring onions or 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, washed thoroughly and chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Approx 1 kg English spinach, including stem weight (tear into large pieces after you wash it well and discard stem) 
  • 1 cup washed long grain rice
  • 2 cups hot water
  • !/2 bunch dill, chopped 
  • 1/2 bunch mint, torn
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • feta to taste or Procal yoghurt
  • chopped carrot, capsicum or tomato (optional)
  • 2 tbs tomato paste (optional)

    Method

    1. Wash the spinach thoroughly, discarding the thick hard stems. I personally individually wash each leaf and then fill a large bowl with water, dunking the spinach in it and swirling it around, a bit at a time.  This has to be done a few times, with a fresh bowl of water each time, until the water in the bowl is clean and does not have any dirt or grit at the bottom. Remember to take the spinach out of the water filled bowl each time. Do not discard the water first as this will contaminate the spinach again. You may need to do these 3-4 times. Also be sure to wash you spring onions and leeks thoroughly. A lot of grit can hide in between the leaves. No one likes to eat grit.
    2. Roughly tear up your spinach leaves and chop your onions and leek
    3. With a few tablespoons olive oil, sauté the onion and leek in a large saucepan until translucent.
    4. Add the roughly cut spinach and leave it for 5-10 mins until it wilts. It may appear that there is too much spinach for the pot, but as it heats it will wilt and decrease in volume. 
    5. Add rice and chopped herbs on top of the spinach, salt and pepper to taste. If you are adding the optional vegetables, add them at this point. 
    6. Add hot water and bring to the boil.
    7. Stir really well 
    8. Turn the heat down, cover with lid and let it cook until the liquid is absorbed for approximately 15 mins. If the spanakorizo appears to have too much liquid, be mindful that it will thicken up when removed from the stove.
    9. Take the pan off the heat and allow to stand for 15 mins with the lid on.
      1.  Add remaining oil, lemon juice and tease the spinach through the rice.
      2. Taste test to see if you have enough salt and pepper.
      3. Serve at room temperature with your favourite accompaniments mentioned in the intrο.

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