Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mina de Masa

You guys rock! Thank you for the input on my last post. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to engage in these conversations. Thank you for not shredding me to bits when I called in to question the beloved Skinny Bitch book. 

But it's been too long since I've talked about a new recipe. This Mina de Masa dish  is something that I prepared last weekend when we had out-of-town holiday guests (don't worry, I had never heard of it either). Ever since Debby over at Happy Healthy Long Life started talking about what she was making for Passover this year, I have been itching to make what I have always called a "Matzoh Lasagna."

Religion and holidays aside, I wanted to share it with you because it's so gosh darn tasty. Because of the combination of artichokes and spinach, it's like spinach artichoke dip in casserole form. I don't care who, what or where you worship, you are gonna love this!
But what specifically is Mina de Masa?

Seems that traditional Mina de Masa is a vegetable and meat or cheese pie that is served as an entree. "Minas, also known as meginas or mehinas, are layered matzo pies, found in Jewish cuisine from Egypt to Turkey to the Isle of Rhodes. Sheets of stiff matzo crackers are softened with water until pliable, then layered with savory fillings and baked, yielding something akin to a Passover-friendly, Ottoman-inflected take on lasagna." source

Debby had the brilliant idea of lightening it all up and came up with this recipe, which I tweaked a tiny bit to my taste. It combines ideas from Chef Aj's Incredible Disappearing Lasagna and Tina's Wasserman's Mina de Masa. Don't try to prepared this when you are in a rush, it could cause a lot of stress. But it's so worth it, not a crumb was left in the casserole dish!

Grab some whole wheat matzoh and go to town., because there's tons of whole wheat matzoh for sale right now in supermarkets (that's not always the case). Of course you could use whole wheat or brown rice lasagna noodles instead of the whole wheat matzoh. I'm pretty sure you'd think that was the shizzle too.

Spinach, Artichoke and Mushroom Mina de Masa
adapted from this recipe

print me!

Spinach "Cheese" Filling:
1 pound firm or extra firm tofu, pressed (or drained and wrapped in paper towel to remove excess moisture) 
1 cup  raw cashews  (you could cut this in half)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup low-sodium miso (I used regular miso)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 pound frozen chopped spinach drained, and squeezed well to remove excess liquid
Onion-Mushroom-Artichoke Filling:
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 pound of sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves
8 ounces of defrosted artichoke hearts (or water packed in a jar)
1/4 cup tamari  (check labels if making gluten-free)
salt & pepper to taste
The Matzo Lasagna "Noodles":
8 regular or whole wheat matzo squares
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 X 13 casserole with cooking oil spray.
In a food processor fitted with the "s" blade, prepare the Spinach "Cheese" Filling by adding tofu, garlic, lemon juice, miso, nutritional yeast, cashews and nutmeg.  Puree until smooth. Add drained and squueezed spinach and process again.
In a large non-stick saute pan, saute chopped onion in 2 Tbsp water or broth until translucent, about 8 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Add garlic, mushrooms and tamari and saute until browned. Cook until mushrooms appear to be glazed and there is no more liquid left in pan.  This can take awhile if the mushrooms release a lot of liquid.  Be patient--you want all the liquid to evaporate.
If the artichoke pieces are large, cut them in quarters.  Add them into the mushroom mixture and stir to heat through.   Set aside.
In a 9 x 9 square baking pan, pour enough vegetable broth to cover two sheets of matzoh. Soak the matzoh until soft, but not at all mushy, and pliable. Place soaked matzohs in the bottom of your 9 x 13 casserole. Soak another matzoh and break apart if necessary to fill any gaps. 
Spread half the spinach & tofu mixture carefully over the matzos and then top carefully with half the mushroom/onion/artichoke mixture.
Repeat with soaking two more sheets of matzoh, the spinach layer and then the mushroom layer. End with a layer of soaked matzoh to cover the filling.
Pour 1/2 cup of the remaining broth evenly over the entire casserole.
Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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