Think spanakopita filling but creamier. Scoop the mixture on top of crispy hash browns and voila! Mini hash browns with cheese spinach!
Feta is traditional for spanakopita filling but I opted for cream cheese to mix with the spinach. Feta doesn’t melt but cream cheese does. And that was what I needed to create a contrast with the crisp hash browns.
Can you imagine the texture? Because the hash browns are still hot, as you bite, the cream cheese softens so that it’s starting to melt but does not really drip. So you get crunch and creaminess with every bite.
But that’s not all! Because the cheesy spinach topping is sprinkled with chili powder, there’s a little heat too. Not much—more like an afterthought that you didn’t think was necessary but, after the first mouthful, you realize that without the heat, the overall flavors won’t be so complex and the experience not quite as satisfying.
If you’re throwing a party on New Year’s Eve and you’re serving finger food with the drinks, you can easily make a huge batch of these mini hash browns with cheese spinach. Make the topping hours before everyone arrives, cool and chill in the fridge. Take it out to allow it to come to room temperature before assembling.
While the topping warms on the kitchen counter, brush the mini hash browns on both sides with melted butter then pop into a preheated oven. Bake at 375F for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden and crisp. Scoop the cheesy spinach mixture on top, sprinkle with chili powder and serve!
Mini Hash Browns with Cheesy Spinach
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 6 cups fresh spinach chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper coarsely ground
- 250 grams cream cheese
- 12 mini hash browns fried or baked
- 12 pinches chili powder
Heat the butter in a frying pan.
Saute the onion until softened. Add the garlic and continue sauteeing for another half a minute.
Add the spinach to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and quite dry. Spinach contains a lot of water and you need to let all the water evaporate before proceeding to the next step.
Turn down the heat to low. Drop the cream cheese into the spinach by pinches. Cook, stirring, until the cream cheese has melted and no lumps remain.
Use a small ice cream scoop to drop mounds of the cheesy spinach mixture on top of the hash browns. Sprinkle with chili powder before serving.