Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Mystery Recipe

It's not really a mystery.  I was afraid that if I mentioned spinach in the title, it would cause some of the on-the-fence-about-spinach or the I-don't-eat-spinach folks out there to pass this recipe right by.  They'd all miss a delicious side dish.

It wasn't until adulthood that I ate spinach.  Although my mother was an excellent cook, there were three things she took from a can.  They were asparagus, green peas and spinach.  Just typing that sentence gave me a gastronomic shudder!  Those three vegetables were not in my diet for decades.  It took a long time for me to be coaxed into trying the freshly prepared versions.  I'm so glad that I finally caved in!

My first creamed spinach came from the famous (now closed) Berghoff Restaurant in Chicago.  It was one of those sides that I would have been happy to turn into an entree.  The recipe that I have for you is almost as good.

Creamed Spinach

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp flour
1 cup of milk (if you really want a treat, use half and half)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp each:  freshly grated nutmeg, white pepper
2 boxes (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Melt the butter in a skillet.  Add the onion and cook over medium heat until tender, about five minutes.  Stir in the flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.  Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.  Stir in the salt, nutmeg and pepper.  Set aside.

Squeeze the thawed spinach to remove as much of the water as possible.  Stir it into the cream sauce, mixing well.  Cook until the spinach absorbs some of the sauce, about five minutes.