Creamed Spinach

Published on May 12, 2022

Along with a baked potato, creamed spinach is a popular side to go with steak. There are a number of copycat recipes for Ruth’s Chris Steak House’s famous creamed spinach. They are all different but everyone starts with cooked spinach, cream, flour, salt and pepper.

Some have the addition of onion and a bay leaf. There are also a number of creamed spinach recipes with shallots and cayenne. When I first started making it, I kept it simple only using garlic for flavoring. In this recipe I’ve added nutmeg which is also part of a classic creamed spinach recipe. For a second version, leave out the garlic, pepper and nutmeg, and use Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs cream cheese.

In a 2019 edition of Fine Cooking, they said that baby spinach is good for salads but the mature large spinach leaves are better for cooking. You would buy them in bundles, trim the stems and rinse them. I will be checking this out.

Creamed Spinach 1

Ingredients

Instructions

You can steam the spinach in the large pot with a steaming basket, or fill a large pot with 1/3″ water and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and stir constantly for 3 minutes or until all the spinach has wilted. Transfer the spinach to a colander to drain, then squeeze dry.* Put the spinach on a cutting board and make about 6 slices 1/2″ apart through the spinach going both directions. Set aside. (Using this method of cooking the spinach it comes out more chewy like sautéed spinach.)

For the béchamel sauce: Measure the half and half into a measuring cup and have all the other ingredients measured and ready. Heat a heavy saucepan on medium. Add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly (don’t brown), then stir in the flour and cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Whisk in the half and half in slowly. Once this has heated and the sauce has thickened. Stir in the cheese and the spices, and mix until smooth. Then stir in the spinach.

“Boursin is the brand name a soft, spreadable cow’s milk cheese originally from Normandy France. Boursin was originally made by a man named François Boursin from the town of Gournay in Normandy, in 1957. It was inspired by the local practice of mixing soft cheeses with herbs.”
itscheese.com

Creamed Spinach 2

Ingredients

Instructions

Fill a large pot with 1/3″ water and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and stir constantly for 3 minutes or until all the spinach has wilted. Transfer the spinach to a colander to drain, then squeeze dry.* Put the spinach on a cutting board and make about 6 slices 1/2″ apart through the spinach going both directions. Set aside. (Using this method of cooking the spinach, rather than steaming it, it comes out chewy like sautéed spinach.)

For the béchamel sauce: Measure the half and half into a measuring cup and have all the other ingredients measured and ready. Heat a heavy saucepan on medium. Add the butter. When the butter has melted, stir in the flour and cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Whisk in the half and half in slowly. Once this has heated and the sauce has thickened. Stir in the cheese, the spices and mix until smooth. Stir in the spinach.

* Squeezing out the water is usually done by using paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Both of these methods are very messy. I have put the spinach between two plates and pressed the plates together which worked okay but I worried one of the plates might crack. Still on my quest for a solution, about a year ago I tried pressing it between two metal bowls. That was the charm. To do this, place the spinach in the larger of two nesting metal bowls. Then place the smaller bowl on top of the spinach and press down. Holding both the bowls together and leaving a small opening between them at the bottom, you tilt it over the sink until all the water is released. Then remove the top bowl, take a fork and fold the spinach over itself making a mound, place the top bowl on the spinach again and press down to release more of the water. If you do this about 5 or 6 times, most of the water will be gone.

cooking the spinach
drying the spinach
drying the spinach
ingredients for creamed spinach 1
preparing the sauce
stirring in the spinach
ingredients for creamed spinach 2
preparing the sauce
stirring in the spinach
steak dinner
meat, eggs and spinach

Chef John said that after ‘Hangtown Fry’, an omelette made famous during the California Gold Rush in the 1850’s, the Original Joe’s ‘Joe’s Special’ is probably San Francisco’s most famous breakfast. What started off as a customer’s order for a hamburger patty to go along with his spinach omelette, turned into a new item on the menu. This “mammoth plate of food features three eggs, a half-pound of meat, and more than enough spinach.” A marriage of eggs, beef and spinach became a huge hit.

Photo from Flickr

Photo from Flickr