Uncooked Spinach Balls, about to be frozen
Steven’s grandmother Faela is a woman I wish I could have met. She passed away long before Steven and I knew each other, so anything I know about her is gathered from old photographs, recipe cards, and stories told by Steven and his family members. One thing I do know is that she was a heck of a cook, with specialties ranging from spinach balls to chicken pie (with few vegetables and lots of chopped hard boiled egg) to brisket and much more that you may or may not expect from a culinarily gifted Jewish Grandmother.
Faela’s recipe for spinach balls makes (in her handwritten words) enough for a small army. Expect anywhere from 100 to 150 spinach balls depending on whether your interpretation of ‘1 inch ball’ is a little over, a little under, or spot on the 1 inch mark. I got about 140 from this latest batch. Unless you in fact are feeding a small army, this is probably many more spinach balls than you care to eat at once, however delicious they may be (and trust me they are delicious!). I typically freeze the whole batch, and then bake 10-20 at a time, as desired (which is often!). They are a great just-home-from-work snack to hold you over to a later-than-it-should-be dinnertime (often the case in my house).
Do you have any recipes that have been passed down through your family that are dear to you?
Faela’s Irresistible Spinach Balls
40 – 48 oz frozen chopped spinach (i.e. 3 x 16 oz bags, or 4 x 10 oz pkgs)
12 eggs, beaten
1 c. butter, melted
1 T. black pepper
1 T. salt
2 t. dried thyme
1 T. granulated garlic
4 onions, chopped (a food processor makes quick work of this)
10 oz. dry stuffing mix, or homemade croutons chopped/pulsed into pea sized pieces
1 c. grated parmesan or gruyere
Cook the spinach according to package directions, then drain. Once cooled, squeeze the excess moisture from the spinach with your hands. Set aside.
In a very large bowl combine eggs, melted butter, pepper, salt, thyme, garlic, onions, stuffing mix, and cheese. Mix well. Add spinach and stir until everything is evenly distributed. Optionally chill mixture for a half an hour to make it easier to work with.
Working with slightly wet hands, take about 1 – 1 1/2 T. spinach mixture and roll into a 1 inch ball and place on a baking sheet (if you are going to cook the spinach balls right away, leave about 1 inch between the balls; if you are going to freeze them, you can line them up so that they are almost touching). Repeat until all of the mixture is used up.
To cook the spinach balls right away, bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until the stuffing is golden brown. Otherwise, freeze the spinach balls on the baking tray(s) until solid (about 1-2 hours). Remove from tray(s) and store in an airtight plastic bag in the freezer until ready to use. To cook from frozen, preheat oven to 350, and bake about 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden.
Steven about to eat a spinach ball!