Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spinach Hater's Creamed Spinach

My recipe card calls this recipe Gulliver's Spinach Souffle, but this is not a souffle, it's creamed spinach. Gulliver's is a Prime Rib House in Orange County right across from the John Wayne Airport. I have very fond memories from there concerning prime rib, creamed spinach & Yorkshire pudding... I don't know if this really is their recipe or someone just put their name on it to insure we would all try the recipe. BUT this spinach is really good. My child loves spinach because this was his introduction. I've served this recipe to spinach haters & THEY love it. The only people who don't enjoy this recipe is vegetarians and boy do they WISH they could eat it because it has a heavenly aroma. The key to this amazing goodness is BACON! This is another recipe from my mother, Cathy Black - a veritable treasure trove of exemplary quality recipes!

So you can get a respectable pre-made creamed spinach at H.E.B. over next to the rotisserie chickens... but my Ethan - a 3rd generation bacon aficionado, specially requested MY homemade creamed spinach... I admit I'm a little bit glad mine is better than H.E.B. If you want to teach a child to love spinach... this is the way. We are such fanatics I usually make a double batch. I have also used this as a filling for homemade crepes. Mmmmmmmm.

Spinach-Hater's Creamed Spinach
1 lb frozen, chopped spinach, defrosted
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1/2 cup fine chopped bacon
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 garlic clove chopped fine (more is better)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp course ground pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour (original recipe was 1/2 cup but that's too pasty)
(my addition) a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg

Squeeze spinach as dry as possible and reserve. Squeezing out in a thin kitchen towel makes this an easier task... but it will most likely stain your towel green, so don't use your favorite fancy decorative towel.

You want these bacon pieces small, you can cut them small from the get-go or chop it fine after it's crisp, I think that's easier... but you want the bacon fat for this dish, so make sure to cook your bacon in the large saucepan you'll use for the spinach. The recipe says cook the bacon slowly, do not brown HOGWASH! If you don't get this bacon crisp it will get flabby when you add it back into the spinach at the end. Crisp away! Remove bacon from pan, reserve.

Add chopped onions, cook until translucent. Add garlic, salt, pepper, and flour. Adding the flour will make a paste, traditionally called a roux. Stir continuously for about two minutes. Stir in the reserved, finely chopped, cooked bacon.

Add milk & whip (or stir continuously) until smooth. Stir and cook for two more minutes. Add spinach, use the spoon to keep breaking it apart until it's evenly mixed. Cook for 5 more minutes with the spinach, stirring occasionally. Add a sprinkle of nutmeg if desired. Serve, or refrigerate and reheat on the stove top, stirring often. This recipe can be made a day ahead and will keep for a few days. If it gets too thick you can stir in a little milk as you reheat.

Note about roux:
Learning how to make a roux is one of the most useful techniques I have EVER learned in cooking. You can use this info to make gravy, white sauce (also known as B├ęchamel), Mornay sauce, macaroni & cheese, a manner of Alfredo, curry and an unlimited number of variously flavored, thickened sauces of your own creation.
A roux is made from mixing together equal amounts of fat (usually butter) and flour. Melt the fat, add the flour and cook for several minutes, mashing around in the pan with a wooden spoon. The purpose of this is to thoroughly combine the fat and flour and cook off the raw flour taste. Once that is done you add liquid according to what you want to make(chicken broth, milk, cream, wine, coffee - whatever is called for) and flavorings (anything from tarragon, to cheese, lemon juice, parsley not all in one recipe of course, but you get the idea.) It's a great thing to know how to do it's probably the single most valuable technique I know for breaking out of recipe box bondage.


Carrie/scrapchick said...

Thanks for sharing! Going to give it a go! :)

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