Creamed Spinach is my husband’s favourite side dish. I confess, I never used to be able to understand why. Every time I tasted it in restaurants I found it far too rich. I also thought it was often over-salted, almost disguising the flavour of the spinach entirely.
As I was convinced I didn’t like it, I resisted making creamed spinach at home for years. Then one day not too long ago I received a huge bag of beautiful spinach in my organic vegetable box. ‘That would be lovely for creamed spinach,’ my husband said hopefully.
I seriously cannot resist his great big blue eyes. So I set to work. I figured there had to be a way to make this dish lighter without compromising on flavour. Turns out, I was right. Using half fat or two percent milk means the cream is only an accent as opposed to the main event. (You can make it even lighter by substituting a quarter cup of vegetable stock for part of the milk if you like. Add it as the first addition of liquid to the floured onions. I do think it tastes best if you use all milk though).
The cream is added at the end to finish the dish, just enough to give it a lovely texture. Carefully adding the salt, pepper and nutmeg after the dish is finished means that it doesn’t get over-seasoned, and the flavour of the spinach shines through.
Not only did my husband love my version of this classic dish, I did too. It’s now a regular feature on our menu. I recently served it at a dinner party to a confirmed spinach hater – I had to dare him to try it – and he was completely won over.
Although I can’t say this dish is good for you with all the lovely sauce, the spinach is very lightly cooked so you do get lots of vitamins and iron. Definitely better for you than the original, my creamed spinach is quick and easy to make. I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we do!
- 5 to 6 cups fresh spinach, washed, with any tough stems removed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- I small onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 generous tablespoons all purpose (plain) flour
- ¾ cup half fat or 2 percent milk
- ⅓ cup single (light or half and half) cream - you may need slightly more or less
- salt and pepper
- a generous pinch of ground nutmeg
- Place the spinach in a large colander in a clean sink.
- Carefully pour boiling water over the spinach. Protecting your hands with oven mitts, shake the hot colander and leave the spinach to drain.
- Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Sauté the onion until it is just beginning to soften.
- Sprinkle the buttery onion with the flour and stir through.
- Cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly.
- Gradually whisk in the milk, a bit at a time, stirring constantly. Allow the sauce to thicken a little between additions.
- Place the colander containing the spinach on a tea towel nearby.
- Pick up the spinach in clean hands, a bit at a time, squeezing out any remaining water before stirring it into the cream sauce.
- When all the spinach has been added, gradually stir in the cream until a smooth, thick consistency is reached. You many not need it all, or you may need a little more. You want the spinach to be in a nice creamy sauce, but you don't want it to run all over the plate.
- Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
- Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.