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$500 Winner: Savory Category

Jennifer Langner | Grayson-Collin EC 

Family members at Jennifer Langner’s house are treated like royal guests. “I see that the sons-in-law and the grandsons have the best,” she says. For them, she rolls out the finery—dough, creamy cheese and rich greens—for dishes such as this comfort creation with Southern flair. “Of course, pecans to me go with everything.”

1/2 pound chopped pancetta (optional)
2 cups Texas pecans, chopped
8 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 box frozen chopped spinach (9-11 ounces) or 1 can mixed greens (27 ounces), drained and pressed dry
10-12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed as directed on package
1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick), melted
3/4 pound Havarti cheese, sliced thin
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook the pancetta (if using) over medium heat about 5 minutes or until edges start to brown. Add pecans to skillet; cook pancetta and pecans 2 minutes more, or until pancetta is fully cooked and pecans are lightly toasted. Remove from skillet.
  • In the same skillet, scramble eggs with the salt and pepper. Add the drained spinach or greens to the scrambled eggs, mix well and remove from heat.
  • Set a 10-by-15-inch jellyroll pan in front of you so that 10-inch sides are on top and bottom. Open the roll of phyllo and lay two sheets of phyllo crosswise over the upper and lower half of the pan, overlapping slightly about 2 inches so that the pan, including the sides, is covered with phyllo. Brush the two sheets with melted butter and repeat, layering and buttering phyllo until you have five layers of phyllo (10 sheets total) covering the pan. You should still have some butter left over at this point.
  • Arrange the egg-and-spinach mixture lengthwise down the center of the phyllo, leaving about 2 to 3 inches on the long sides and about 3/4 inch on the ends. Lay pancetta-pecan mixture and Havarti cheese slices over the egg mixture. Fold long ends of phyllo over each other and pinch closed the short ends, then brush with remaining butter to make a big, smooth log. (If your phyllo tears, just throw another sheet of phyllo over the log and smooth it with a little more butter.)
  • Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and cracked pepper on top. Make a small perforation with a knife to release steam. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly. If desired, decorate with fresh rosemary sprigs and grape tomatoes to resemble holly. Cut into triangles and serve.

Servings: 12. Serving size: 6 ounces. Per serving: 480 calories, 12.68 g protein, 42.59 g fat, 11.69 g carbohydrates, 4.92 g dietary fiber, 304 mg sodium, 1.98 g sugars, 154 mg cholesterol

Cook’s Tip:

  • If you are not using pancetta, heat the pecans over medium to medium-high heat, stirring often, until they become aromatic and begin to release their oils, about 2-5 minutes.