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Stuffed Spinach leaves

This delightful recipe was given to me by a friend of mine who runs a hostel in our village. On his guest’s last day he always prepares a Spanish style buffet lunch and this is one of the favourite dishes.

You will need:

12 large spinach leaves – the larger the better as it makes the job easier
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
300g mushrooms
100g breadcrumbs
Handful of fresh parsley, thyme and oregano
1 egg
Tip of a chilli pepper
Olive oil

For the sauce
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice

How to cook

1. Wash the spinach leaves by rinsing in cold water, pat dry and cut the stalks off.
2. Put about ¾ of a pint of water into a large pan, bring to the boil and add the spinach leaves. Cook for just 2 minutes and drain, reserving the juices (This is just so it is easier to roll the leaves later on)
3. Pat the leaves dry and leave to cool while you prepare the filling
4. Prepare the vegetables. Peel the onion and chop as finely as possible. Wash the mushrooms, pat dry and chop. Peel and crush the garlic. Chop the tip of the chilli pepper as finely as you can.
5. In a frying pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil, add the onions and fry until soft, then add the garlic and mushrooms. And cook for a further 6 minutes or so until the mushrooms soften.
6. Add the breadcrumbs, herbs, chili and the egg(beaten) to the pan. Cook for a minute or so stirring briskly until the mixture is binded together, season with salt and stir again.

7. Place about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the middle of each spinach leaf. Fold in the edges and roll up carefully.

8. Place the Stuffed leaves into a greased oven proof dish, pour over a little of the reserved juices, about ¼ of a pint.
9. Cover the dish with foil and cook in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes
10. When the spinach is ready, drain, reserving the juices, transfer onto a serving dish and keep warm.

Prepare the sauce:

1. In a heatproof basin, whisk the egg yolks together with the lemon juice over a pan of simmering water.
2. Add to the basin, the reserved juices from the spinach, season with a little salt and stir continuously until thickened, about 5 minutes.
3. Pour the sauce over the spinach leaves and serve.

This recipe is a bit fiddly and time consuming but the end result is well worth it. Although a vegetarian dish, it is popular with everybody and makes up part of a great buffet.