Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach by My Utensil Crock

It has been eleven years since my first “cooking date” with my grandma Ga. Time flies.

I remember so well the kitchen in her apartment. She never let the building upgrade it – in 50 years. Everything had its place, namely the tin receptacles for leftovers, enormous jars of mayonnaise, and cooked bacon wrapped in aluminum foil left on the counter.

I love this picture. Ga in the Kitchen

In this kitchen, Ga and I had several cooking sessions.

We had a lofty list of her favorite recipes to discuss and make; you can read about it here. I don’t remember her making Creamed Spinach when I was growing up, but she put it on the list.

Creamed Spinach by My Utensil Crock

It was a good call. Maybe one of those “you will appreciate this when you are older” moments.

Creamed Spinach by My Utensil Crock

Appreciated.

I generally don’t need to add anything to vegetables, but in this recipe, a bit of chicken bouillon and some grated nutmeg are an easy way to add a little depth and flavor to greens. Because the recipe calls for frozen spinach, you can always be ready to make this recipe with a few staple pantry and fridge ingredients.

Creamed Spinach by My Utensil Crock

Like with the recipe for Ga’s Brownies, during our cooking session, I panicked and scribbled down the instructions as fast as I could, resulting in this amazingness:

Creamed Spinach Recipe - terrible handwritten copy

When I went through her recipe file, I was surprised (and a little relieved) to find that the recipe had actually come ingredient-for-ingredient from a newspaper clipping.

Ga's Creamed Spinach Newspaper Recipe

There is no attribution on this clipping, but I had a hunch it was from the Chicago Tribune. A quick search for “Chicago Tribune creamed spinach” produced this article – revealing that my grandma’s Creamed Spinach is … a copycat recipe for the Berghoff Restaurant’s famous dish! Nice find, Ga! {Note, Ga would be completely consternated that I was able to find this recipe online, because it was already in her recipe file.}

*gets up and returns recipe to “S” slot of Ga’s accordion file, because I can feel her getting antsy that it’s not back in its place*

Creamed Spinach by My Utensil Crock

I made the recipe just a wee bit healthier by using skim milk and less butter and flour.  Ga would probably not approve – she never understood healthy shortcuts. :)

Creamed Spinach by My Utensil Crock

She just understood passion for family and for eating. You could say she had her priorities straight.

Creamed Spinach by My Utensil Crock

Add some brisket and roasted potatoes, and you have a complete meal! This is a great meal for company, because – as I make it – brisket is made the day before and heated through when you are ready to serve it; if you roast the potatoes while the brisket is in the oven, you will have a nice window to clean up, set the table, and throw together this Creamed Spinach side dish. Enjoy!

Creamed Spinach by My Utensil Crock

Creamed Spinach
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A flavorful way to add spinach to any meal - try it with good ol' meat and potatoes.
Author:
Recipe type: Side, Vegetable
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 16 - 20 oz frozen spinach (I like to use whole leaf, but you can use chopped as well)
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion (yellow, white, or sweet), finely chopped
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 c skim milk
  • 1 t granulated chicken base, or 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • .25 t freshly grated nutmeg (or already-grated nutmeg)
  • .25 t freshly ground white pepper
Instructions
  1. Defrost the spinach in the microwave or on the stove using directions on the package, and wring as much water as you can from it. I line a colander or strainer with 2 layers of paper towel, add the spinach, and press/wring out the water.
  2. You can start the cream sauce while the spinach is defrosting. Heat a medium or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter, and when it is melted, add the chopped onion. Saute until the onion gets tender.
  3. Add the flour and grab a whisk; cook for 30-45 seconds, whisking constantly.
  4. Add the milk and lower the temperature, and continue to whisk.
  5. After about a minute, add the chicken base or bouillon, nutmeg, and pepper.
  6. The mixture should come to a boil and thicken within about 2-3 minutes. If you used a bouillon cube and it hasn't completely dissolved, remove the remaining chunk.
  7. Add the spinach to the skillet, and stir to distribute evenly. Cook until the spinach it heated through.
Notes
Read the ingredients on your frozen spinach. It should only contain spinach! Some brands add preservative ingredients.

The original recipe calls for salt, but I find the chicken base or bouillon to be salty enough. You can always serve salt on the side if you have guests with that type of palate.

Creamed Spinach by My Utensil CrockCreamed Spinach by My Utensil Crock

Miss you, Ga.

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