Prysnae, Prasna, or Serbian Spinach Pie Recipe
For my first in the "Eating out of the Garden" series, let me introduce you to prsynae. Prysnae is a family favorite. It started appearing at our extended family gatherings back in the eighties as a vegetarian option and has become a favorite, especially good for potlucks.
Prysnea has been described as a quiche without the crust. It is based on greens (I use either fresh spinach or chard, depending on what’s available in my garden) and lots of dairy products. (True Wisconsonian Cuisine!) It can be served at breakfast, lunch or dinner, as the main dish or a side dish. Its versatility is one of its charms.
I was never sure of the meaning of the word nor the country of origin, so I googled it (an option not available in the eighties). No results for “Prysnae” but if spelled “Prysnea” a few sites in Polish showed up. The mystery of its origins remained unsolved until a chance encounter my sister, Jenni Gile, had in a cafeteria in Columbia Missouri. Here is her account.
“Today's special in the cafeteria was Serbian Spinach Casserole (or Pie). It sure looked like Prysne. When I inquired as to what the ingredients were, low and behold - it was exactly the same thing. So then I did a Google search on Serbian Spinach Casserole or PRASNA - it is peasant, Serbian/Yugoslavian! Some variations contain Filo Dough (to make it the more pie-like quality, rather than the casserole). The original dish is pita Zeljanica and it contained the filo dough. The peasants removed the dough layering to make it a more affordable every day dish.”
Like the Serbian peasants, I have made adaptations since I first got this recipe. When I received it, “American Cheese” was an ingredient. Ugh. But whenever you make an adaptation it is often hard to explain things in terms of proportions. For example, the original recipe calls for one 10 oz. package of frozen spinach. When you are picking fresh from the garden, how much is that? Those of you who have cooked with fresh spinach know the answer, “about twice as much as you think.”
This recipe has no seasonings in its original form, and it has a great flavor just as it is. But when there’s basil, parsley, or hot peppers in the garden needing to be used, I add them. If I want it spicy and there aren’t any hot peppers in my garden, I use pepper jack cheese. So without further ado, here it is.
- 12 oz small curd cottage cheese
- 3 eggs
- 3 T Flour
- 1/3 lb cheese, grated. (I use sharp cheddar and/or pepper jack)
- pkg 10 oz frozen spinach, or use fresh spinach or fresh chard in season
- ¼ c butter, melted
In a bowl blend the cottage cheese, eggs, flour and cheese. Steam fresh spinach or chard (heat up frozen spinach until hot). Add to cheese mixture; add melted butter. Pour into greased baking dish (a double recipe fits nicely into a 9x13 cake pan). Bake at 350-375 for 45-60 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving, if you can resist. Cut into serving sizes and dish up!