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Mina, which translates as "pie" from the Ladino, is a treasured Sephardic dish on the Passover table. Puffy, golden, and deliciously homey, this vegetable and matzoh mina breaks tradition by mixing the vegetables and matzoh rather than customarily layering them. There's no need to precook the spinach because the crumbled matzohs do a great job of absorbing all the spinach moisture. For the cook's convenience, this hearty matzoh pie can be made a day ahead, brought to room temperature, and reheated at 350 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes. The key to assembling this dish efficiently is to have all ingredients prepped in advance.
PASSOVER SPINACH AND VEGETABLE MINA
Yield: 12 to 15 servings
Creamy Tofu Sauce
1 (14-ounce (390g) package firm tofu, rinsed
1 (14-ounce) (390g) can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 or 4 large tomatoes, diced
2 cups (480 ml) chopped green cabbage
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch matchsticks
1 small onion, diced
1/4 pound (115g) green beans, trimmed and sliced
1/2 small red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
Spinach and Matzohs
2 large bunches fresh spinach (about 1 pound), stems discarded
8 sheets matzohs
1/3 cup (80 ml) water
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (Gas Mark 4) and have ready a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 23 cm) baking pan.
- To make the Creamy Tofu Sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients, except the tomatoes, in the food processor and process until smooth and creamy, occasionally scraping down the work bowl. Set aside. Put the tomatoes in a medium bowl and set aside.
- To make the Vegetable Sauté, combine all the sauté ingredients in a large, deep skillet. Cook and stir over high heat for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and no more liquid remains. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning. Transfer the vegetables to an extra-large bowl.
- To prepare the spinach and matzohs, put the spinach in a large bowl and fill it with water. Carefully wash the leaves with a pumping action. Change the water 2 or 3 times as needed to remove all traces of dirt. Drain thoroughly but do not dry the spinach.
- In batches, coarsely chop the spinach and add it to the bowl with the vegetables. Crumble the matzohs and add them to the bowl. Add the water, salt, and pepper to taste, and use your hands to mix the ingredients and dampen the matzohs.
- Add 2/3 of the Creamy Tofu Sauce to the bowl and mix with your hands to distribute it evenly and coat all the ingredients. Pack the spinach mixture firmly into the baking pan, spreading it evenly. Add the remaining sauce to the reserved tomatoes, stirring well, and top the spinach mina with the sauce. Use the back of a spoon to distribute the sauce evenly and spread it to the edges.
- Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until the mina is firm and springs back when gently pressed.
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