pie bites: spinach cheese edition

growing up, i had the fortunate luck of having a mother who made everything delicious. i mean everything. and from scratch! from liver and onions, to brussels sprouts, that woman had little rachel clearing her plate of things most kids said eww to. and so. this recipe share is a nod to my mom. the woman who most definitely inspired my culinary obsession.

case in point: spinach cheese pie. even though we didn't have a lot of money, she didn't let that stop her from coming up with all kinds of goodness in the kitchen. using very simple ingredients, my mom effortlessly whipped up what became a family treasure. something that my siblings and self ask for whenever we're in town... without fail.

now my mom's version is baked in a typical nine inch pie crust... and she uses hard cheeses, like cheddar in hers. so my bite is a portable version of it... and i use goat cheese. so, there's that. but. play around with it. add your own flair to what my mom once made as a cheap and easy way to feed four hungry children. most importantly, whatever you do, enjoy it. savor it. and say thanks to my mom for sparking good taste. :)

spinach cheese pie bites

for the crust:
you can use storebought. or you can do like i and roll out your favorite dough to get these things happening. your call. i like a butter based crust. for so many reasons. mostly the yummy flakiness. if you do choose a butter crust, be sure to keep it cold until ready to fill. speaking of filling...

for the filling:

spinach - fresh or frozen, your call
potatoes - about three medium (i like red potatoes)
carrots - one large or two on the smaller side
garlic - a couple of cloves
onions - like half of a yellow one
cheese - your call here
evaporated milk
salt & pepper

okay. slice and peel your potatoes, as if you're making mashed potatoes. i leave a bit of skin on mine. skin and slice carrots as if you're preparing a salad. boil them all together, until they're fork tender. and don't worry, they will not meld together and become a big orange mess. promise. while the potatoes and carrots are boiling away, sautee chopped onions and garlic in butter - until onions are translucent.

to bring it all together, mash the potatoes and carrots, and mix in a bit of evaporated milk, until it's creamy, but not runny. add the garlic and onions, along with the spinach. if you're using frozen spinach, be sure to give it time to defrost and then get all of the water out of it. trust me. no one likes a soggy spinach cheese pie. add your cheese, then salt and pepper, to taste.

you're now at a crossroads. if you're making this into a pie, you can go ahead and fill the crust with the mixture. top with glorious mounds of cheese, brush the crust with an egg wash, and bake at 350 for 25 mins (until the crust is golden).

if making into bites, allow the mixture to cool off (i refrigerate overnight) before attempting to work with the dough. otherwise, you will burn your hands. and make an awful mess. so be patient. your goodness is coming. alas, when you're ready to craft your bites, roll out your dough into smallish circles. make them as big or as small as you'd like. pop a spoonful of the spinach mixture into the center of the crust (leaving enough space to close and seal it) and close the bite, with whatever design you choose, i did a twisty roll-over thing with it. but you could fork press it. or whatever. these are your bites. egg wash, about 20 mins at 350, and yummm.

btw: these babies freeze well. as well as the pies. so make a few in advance. you'll be glad you did. and most importantly, thank you mom. for everything.

Rachel WallsComment