Just writing the title made me shudder. Gloppy creamed spinach, who wants that? Well, to quote Alton Brown, it’s Good Eats. Really. If you make it yourself. If you buy it out of a can or the freezer section, well, I can’t guarantee it so much.
Anytime I saw creamed spinach as a child, I refused to try it. It sat on my plate all gloppy and greenish. Hardly the stuff a kid wants to eat. If I was made to eat it, it was just slime. Now, I liked regular cooked spinach. To this day love it. Just the creamed part seemed to be the problem. Then, my husband took me on a date to Morton’s. He ordered creamed spinach as a side dish. I tried it and it was divine. Not gloppy or slimy. But rather thick with a creamy, yet substantial mouthfeel. I make this stuff at home and my 10 year old LOVES it. Tells me he could “seriously eat this every day”. My daughter, not so much. This is a staple on our Christmas Eve dinner menu when the theme is “Steakhouse”.
I could tell you to buy pounds of fresh spinach and wilt it. But I won’t. That’s crazy. Frozen chopped spinach is made for this recipe. Buy an organic version if you are unhappy with the little retro frozen bricks in your grocery basket.
2 10 ounce packages frozen, chopped spinach
4 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup of heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste
Put enough water to cover the bottom of a 4 quart sauce pan, place spinach in the pan and cover. Over medium heat, thaw the spinach. Once there are no frozen parts left to the spinach (the spinach will be hot in parts, so be careful), drain well. I use the pan lid to drain most of the water and then a bunch of paper towels to soak up the rest. Honestly, cleaning bits of spinach out of my strainer is just a no. Not gonna happen again. Strain if you want, but I warned you. Set aside.
In a second sauce pan, melt the butter. Sauté the onion, then the garlic. Once the onion and garlic are softened, add the flour. You want a nice, blonde roux. Sauté flour until the flour taste is gone. Don’t let the flour brown. Once the flour is sufficiently done, add the cream slowly. As the cream and flour meet over the heat, the mixture will thicken. Add the cream until you have a consistency that is slightly thicker than how you want the creamed spinach. You may need slightly more than 1 cup of cream to achieve this consistency. Let simmer for a minute or so and then add to the drained spinach. Stir until well incorporated. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper.
For big dinners, I make this a day ahead, keep in the fridge, reheat when needed. It’s actually better with a little wait time.