Monday, December 10, 2012

Creamed Spinach

Fresh baby spinach, blanched then chopped and cooked with butter, cream and a light sprinkle of shredded cheese. Garnish with chopped or sliced, hard-boiled eggs.

Creamed Spinach

This recipe is only going to appeal to the spinach lovers passing by, but if you enjoy fresh spinach like I do, and you haven't had the opportunity to try it creamed this way, you really don't know what you're missing.

I have always loved spinach. Fresh in salads, frozen, canned, doesn't matter to me. In soups, casseroles, and dips, sauteed in a skillet with a little butter, nothing like it. But... oh how much I love it creamed, especially with a beef entree, making it perfect for a holiday side dish.

Like any green, it cooks down quite a lot so it takes a full 3 pounds of fresh spinach to make my standard 4 to 6 servings, basically a full pound of fresh spinach to get one cup cooked. I'm doing something a little less traditional for our Christmas dinner menu this year, and I've settled that this will be one of my Christmas dinner sides.

This process first very briefly blanches the fresh spinach in a deep pot of water. While you can certainly accomplish the very same thing by sauteing it down in a skillet, with 3 pounds of spinach leaves, doing it all at once in a deep pot just makes sense. Next step dredges it in an ice cold water bath so it retains its beautiful, bright green color. Then you drain it well, squeeze out any excess water and chop it up, after which, it gets cooked in a skillet, where all the other wonderful goodies show up. Here's how to make it.

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Recipe: Creamed Spinach

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 25 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 3 pounds of fresh baby spinach (for 3 cups cooked)
  • 8 quarts of water
  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons of butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup of minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of finely shredded cheese, optional
  • 1 sliced or chopped hard boiled egg, optional

Clean and rinse the spinach well, if needed. Add water to a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Stir in the salt. Drop the spinach in the boiling water a handful at a time, stirring in. Return to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Drain, return to pot and add cold water and ice to stop the cooking process. Drain well, squeeze out excess water, and chop.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet; add the onion and cook until tender but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium high heat, until excess water is evaporated and spinach is mostly dry. Season with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. Sprinkle the flour over the top and cook another 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the cream, grate nutmeg in, stir in well and bring to a near boil. Reduce to just under medium, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat, taste, adjust seasonings as needed, and stir in the cheese, if using, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Transfer to serving platter and garnish with chopped or sliced boiled egg, if desired. Garnish egg with a light sprinkling of Cajun seasoning and black pepper.

Cook's Notes: Use bacon drippings for part of the butter if desired. I used pepper jack cheese. May substitute frozen spinach, skipping the blanching process. You'll need about three (10 ounce) packages. May also substitute other cooked greens, such as collards, turnip, mustard or mixed greens. Toasted pine nuts are a nice addition.

Sauteed Spinach: Prepare as above, omitting flour and cream.


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©Deep South Dish
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Check These Spinach Recipes Out Too Y'all!

Spinach Madeline
Roasted Vegetable Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
Classic Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Posted by on December 10, 2012
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