Spanakorizo

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One of the great things about growing up in a Greek family is that I’m privy to so many foods and recipes that aren’t well known. Spanakorizo is one such dish. Like the lentil soup and the Greek meatball soup that I’ve previously shared, I have nothing but warm memories of my mother’s kitchen when I make these traditional dishes.

Spanakorizo, literally translated to spinach and rice, is so easy to make. Here are our ingredients:

1 onion, diced
1/2 cup rice (any kind works)
frozen spinach, thawed and drained
fresh lemon juice
2 cups water
salt to taste
olive oil

First, add about 1/4 cup of olive oil to your saute pan. Once it’s hot, add in your diced onion.

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The onion is going to saute for about 8-10 minutes. I generally buy the large bag of frozen spinach and I use about half of it. Of course, if you want to use all of it, just double all of the ingredients listed above.

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Okay, once the onion is done, we’re going to add in drained spinach and the 2 cups of water.

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Bring everything up to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add in the 1/2 cup of rice…

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…the juice of one lemon (or half of a giant lemon)…

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…and plenty of salt.

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Now, turn the heat down to low, put a lid on it and let it simmer for 30 minutes. After about 15 minutes, check to make sure that there’s still some liquid left. If all of the water has been absorbed, add about another half cup so that the rice and spinach doesn’t brown. When the 30 minutes is up, give it a taste to check for seasoning (I almost always add more salt and sometimes more lemon) and to make sure that the rice is cooked through. When it’s done, the spanakorizo is moist, but the water has been absorbed.

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I eat this as a meal by itself, but the Irishman loves it with the leftover Greek lemon chicken. It’s so easy to throw together and I always have the ingredients on hand so I generally end up making this about once a week. Plus, this is comfort food to me, so eating it is like curling up on the couch with a warm blanket. I think that’s why I love to cook. It’s such a comfort and a joy to bring the same sounds and smells that I grew up with to my own family.

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