Spanakorizo with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Feta and Ouzo
Spanakorizo, or spinach rice, is one of the great Greek-diet plant-based main courses! It speaks the language of a perfect Mediterranean diet recipe because it has all the right components: extra virgin Greek olive oil, greens, in this case spinach, a grain (rice), and a vibrant, fresh flavor profile thanks to the addition of ouzo, which I like to use as much as a seasoning as I do an aperitif (!), Greek feta, and a touch of balsamic vinegar to add a subtle acidic punch. In Greek cooking, spanakorizo is served as a main course and it’s one of the most beloved ladera (olive-oil-centric) recipes, a staple during Lent. When it’s not a fasting period, it’s often served with feta on the side and a fried egg on top. In this Greek recipe for it, I stir in the feta for meltingly good deliciousness and added Greek comfort food satisfaction.
- ½ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 1 large yellow or red onion chopped
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 1/3 cups Greek Carolina rice sushi rice or risotto rice
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 10 cups washed drained fresh baby or regular spinach, the latter trimmed and coarsely chopped)
- 1/3 cup ouzo or other anise-flavored liqueur or 1 star anise
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes soaked, softened, drained and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ to 2/3 cup Greek feta mashed or crumbled
Warm the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.
Add the onion and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic.
Add the rice and stir for a minute or so, to coat in the olive oil.
Add the spinach in batches, stirring to wilt after each addition.
When all the spinach is in and wilted, add the ouzo and cook for a few minutes, for the alcohol to steam off. Next, add the water. Cook the spanakorizo over medium-low heat, partially covered, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice tender, about 20 – 25 minutes.
Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic. Cook for a minute or so and then stir in the feta. As soon as it begins to melt and get gooey, remove from heat and serve.
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