Thursday, April 12, 2012

Turkish Spinach & Tomatoes

While I own a sizeable library of cookbooks, I often turn to internet sources for cooking inspiration.  I follow a few blogs that regularly post delightful recipes and I love to read the Dining & Wine section of the New York Times.  It's a one-stop foodie paradise, with great recipes, food stories, etiquette tips, and links to other food news.  I was reading some of the articles the other day and found a plethora of spinach-themed recipes.  With spring in the air, I thought it was the perfect time to try out as many of these spinach recipes as I could.  And after a quick trip to the co-op, I had three large bundles of crunchy, fresh spinach.  If you can, I'd always opt for the fresh stuff instead of the containers of baby spinach.  It's so much more crisp and flavorful!
The first recipe of my spinach fest is a Turkish spinach & tomato dish with rice.  The rice makes this dish hearty and the combination of spices adds a warmth that is so soothing.  I had a few bites without the goat cheese, and it's great either way!  I just liked the added creaminess and bite that the goat cheese added.  Plus, I'll jump at any excuse to use my CSA chevre! 

Turkish Spinach & Tomatoes
adapted from New York Times
serves 2 as a main dish

1 pound fresh spinach, washed
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can chopped tomatoes in their juice
2/3 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
Juice from 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbls fresh goat cheese

Lightly wilt the spinach by placing it in a steamer basket over 1-inch of boiling water.  Wilt the spinach in batches if needed.  Set aside in a colander over a bowl to drain.  (You can do this step in advance.)

In a large, lidded skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the minced garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.  Then add the can of diced tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes have broken down a bit, about 5 minutes. 

Add the vegetable stock, spinach, rice, lemon juice, sugar, paprika, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt to taste.  Reduce heat to low and cover, allowing the mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes.  Then uncover and continue to cook as needed until the mixture has reduced and thickened like a stew.  Mine came together almost immediately.  

Taste and adjust seasonings.  Stir in about 2 tablespoons of goat cheese.  Serve with a piece of crusty bread.

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