My good friend, Zelos's marketing godmother, Pauline, is a very curious, albeit lazy, foodie! When we caught up in Thessaloniki a few weeks ago, she started talking about trahana and what a pity that it's so hard to find in the summer. Because it's usually made as a soup, it's become the typical winter comfort dish. Yet trahana has so much flavor, thanks to the yogurt mixed with the flour and water, that she thought there has to be a way to bring it to our summer tables. Many Greek restaurants have already popularized trahanóto, and I, too, shared a recipe resembling a risotto but with trahana instead of arborio rice. But Pauline wanted something more summery...and so I told her of my accidental discovery, a different approach to that very traditional spinach-based Greek dish called spanakórizo.
I call this an accidental recipe because it came to life while I was cleaning out my freezer before leaving for Greece last month. I had some spinach in there but I also had a bunch of fresh herbs from the magnificent organic garden of Zelos fan, Sylvia Rombis (try her Veggie Flatbread!). Spinach and dill are a classic combination in Greece....but I had trahana on hand and not rice. Now I've never thought of trahana as an ingredient for spanakórizo, but after having used it in the trahanóto, I realized it is a lot more versatile than we think! And so I mixed them all up and came up with a real tongue-twister: spanakotrahanóto!! The dish didn't disappoint, even though Pauline looked surprised when I described it to her. The trahana is softer and less chewy than the rice and the real yogurt that Agrozimi uses for their handmade trahana gives it an extra tang that only becomes better the next day...if you have any leftovers the next day!
Here is my recipe and I hope you will try it even if it means getting outside of your comfort zone taste-wise. Then again, if you read my blog, then I know you're a curious foodie!
2 lbs of frozen leaf-sized spinach
2/3 cup Agrozimi handmade sour trahaná
1 onion, chopped finely
1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 handful of fresh dill, chopped
The juice of one large lemon
Salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil on medium-high and sauté the onion until it becomes translucent. Add the frozen spinach and sauté for a couple of minutes until it softens. Add the parsley and dill and mix well. Add the trahaná on top of the spinach and stir once. Add warm water until the mixture is just barely covered and bring to a boil. Lower to medium-low and let simmer until the trahaná is cooked. You may need to add a bit more water depending on your stove and how much water the spinach releases. You don't want the dish to completely dry up, nor be watery - it should have just enough moisture to look like the picture! Remove from the heat, top with the lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil, and give it a good stir.
I truly hope you will enjoy!
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