It's Still a Keeper: Spanikopita Burgers

Because I am a supernerd, I like to try different versions of Rachael Ray's recipes if more than one exists. I have tried at least three versions of her Chicken with Dumplings recipes and at least two Carbonara recipes. I find it fun to choose which one I like best (hey, I already admitted I'm a supernerd).

Last night I tried a second version of RR's greek burgers, this time from 365: No Repeats. The other version was published in Every Day with Rachael Ray and was a bit more involved, with two sauces and way more ingredients. Because of this difference, I think I will stick with the 365: No Repeats version. I served it with chips and a green salad with a little homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

I am pretty sure that there is an error in the recipe regarding the onions. It says to put them all in the meat in the beginning of the recipe, then says to put sauteed onions on the top of the burger, which would obviously be impossible. I try to sort it out with my comments in the brackets:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)(once around the pan), plus some for drizzling
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, chopped [I used three - mmmm, garlic.]
1 red onion, half chopped, half thinly sliced [I questioned RR's judgment on this, why not just chop it all? But it did create a great texture to have the mixture.]
1 10 ounce box frozen spinach, defrosted
1 teaspoon dried oregano, lightly crushed in the palm of your hand
1/4 pound feta crumbles
1 package (1.3 pounds) ground chicken or ground turkey breast
1 tablespoon grill seasoning, such as McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning (a palmful) [I have been cooking RR recipes for about 3 years, but I still measure, except for the EVOO.]
1/3 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 roasted red peppers [They have a pepper and olive bar in my Safeway, by the deli, making it very easy to buy the exact amount of peppers and olives for the recipe.]
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley (a generous handful)
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives (10-12 olives)

4 crusty rolls, split
1 cup coarsely chopped or shredded arugula [they sell little packages of arugula by the herbs in my store]
Hot pepper rings or pepperoncini (optional) [Rachael says these are optional, I say they are required!

[I recommend starting your spinach defrosting in the microwave oven first.] Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. To one side, add the 1 tablespoon of EVOO and the butter. [I didn't get why it says "to one side" in the recipe. I just threw it in there. After further reflection and after reading the whole recipe, I think you are supposed to cook the chopped onions with the garlic on one side of the pan and the sliced onions on the other side. Then you mix the chopped onions and garlic into the meat and put the sliced ones on the top.] When the butter melts, add the garlic and all the [onions and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer the garlic and onions to a bowl to cool. [Although, I would put the sliced ones into one bowl and the chopped into another one.] Return the pan to the heat. [If you are grilling the burgers outside or on your Foreman grill, there is no need to return the pan to the heat.]

Wring the defrosted spinach dry by twisting it in a clean kitchen towel over your sink. Separate the spinach as you add it to the bowl with the cooled onions and garlic, and season with the oregano. Add the feta crumbles, then the chicken or turkey, grill seasoning, and a drizzle of EVOO. Mix, score the meat into 4 equal sections [I was tempted to do 5, but it really did make 4 perfect size burgers after the on the grill shrinkage], then form 4 patties, 1 inch thick. Raise the heat on the pan to medium high. Add the patties and cook for 6 minutes on each side [or throw them on the barbie].

Season the cucumbers and tomatoes with salt and pepper. [It doesn't get much easier than that.]

Place the topping ingredients in a food processor, season with salt and pepper, and process until a paste forms. [I chopped the olives and served them on the side instead of blending them into the sauce because I hate olives. But Husband loves them, so it was a compromise.] Place the cooled burgers on the roll bottoms. Top with the sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, sauteed [sliced] onions, shredded arugula, and hot peppers, if using. Slather the roll tops with the red pepper and olive paste and place atop the burgers. Serve with chips [and a salad].

It took me about 25 minutes to make, 5 of which was spent figuring out that there was an error in the recipe! If you try both and have your own opinion about which is better, please share in the comments.


  1. These are one of our favorites - yummy stuff!

  2. This recipe reminds me why I have a blog - I feel the urge to tell all my friends about it because it is so good!


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