Indulge in Comfort: A Classic Creamed Spinach Recipe for the Ultimate Side Dish
Every family has that one dish that holds a special place in their hearts, and for mine, it’s undoubtedly creamed spinach. This warm, velvety delight has graced our dinner table on countless occasions, from festive holiday feasts to quiet, cozy weeknights. Today, I’d like to share the story of my love affair with creamed spinach, and how this simple yet indulgent side dish became an integral part of my culinary journey.
Creamed spinach is one of those classic, comforting side dishes that has stood the test of time. Rich, creamy, and packed with the goodness of fresh spinach, this versatile dish complements a wide array of main courses, from a perfectly cooked steak to a tender roast chicken. In today’s post, we’ll guide you through a tried-and-true creamed spinach recipe and offer some variations to help you put a creative spin on this timeless favorite. Get ready to indulge in the ultimate comfort food!
A Trip Down Memory Lane:
My earliest memories of creamed spinach date back to my childhood when my grandmother used to prepare it as a special treat for family gatherings. The anticipation of watching her work her magic in the kitchen, the aroma of garlic and onions sautéing in butter, and the sight of vibrant green spinach being folded into the rich, creamy sauce – all these memories are etched into my mind.
As I grew older and began to explore the world of cooking, I found myself drawn to the idea of mastering my grandmother’s creamed spinach recipe. With her guidance and a few practice runs, I eventually became the family’s go-to person for this dish. It gave me a deep sense of accomplishment and connection to my roots.
Variations to Try:
- Gourmet Twist: For a more luxurious version, replace half of the heavy cream with cream cheese. The result is a velvety, extra-creamy dish that’s simply irresistible.
- Vegan Delight: Substitute the butter with olive oil or vegan butter, and use coconut cream or cashew cream instead of heavy cream. Skip the Parmesan or opt for a vegan cheese alternative.
- Spicy Kick: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the recipe for a subtle hint of heat that adds depth to the dish.
- Crunchy Topping: For added texture and flavor, top your creamed spinach with toasted breadcrumbs or crushed nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts before serving.
Tips and Tricks to make the Best Creamed Spinach
Tip #1: Choose Fresh Spinach
For the best results, always use fresh spinach. Look for leaves that are vibrant green without any yellow or wilted spots. Fresh spinach not only tastes better, but it also retains more nutrients compared to frozen alternatives.
Tip #2: Thoroughly Wash and Dry Spinach
Rinse the spinach leaves well under cold water to remove any dirt and grit. It’s essential to dry the spinach properly, either by using a salad spinner or patting it dry with a clean kitchen towel. Excess water can dilute the cream sauce and affect its consistency.
Tip #3: Blanch and Squeeze Spinach
Blanching the spinach in boiling water for a minute or two helps to retain its vibrant color and remove any bitterness. After blanching, immediately transfer the spinach to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Squeeze out the excess water to prevent a watery cream sauce.
Tip #4: Sauté Onions and Garlic
Sautéing onions and garlic in butter until they’re soft and translucent adds a rich depth of flavor to the creamed spinach. Be careful not to brown the garlic, as it can become bitter when overcooked.
Tip #5: Use Heavy Cream
Heavy cream creates a rich, velvety sauce that complements the spinach perfectly. If you prefer a lighter option, you can use half-and-half or whole milk, but the sauce won’t be as thick and creamy.
Tip #6: Season with Nutmeg
Nutmeg adds a warm, subtle spice to the creamed spinach, enhancing its flavor profile. A little goes a long way, so add just a pinch and adjust according to your taste.
Tip #7: Cheese It Up
For an extra layer of flavor and indulgence, mix in some grated cheese like Parmesan, Gruyère, or Gouda. The cheese will add a savory note and make the dish even more satisfying.
Tip #8: Adjust the Sauce Consistency
If you prefer a thicker sauce, mix a small amount of cornstarch or flour with cold water to create a slurry, then stir it into the sauce. To thin out the sauce, add a splash of milk or cream until you reach your desired consistency.
Tip #9: Keep it Warm
To ensure the best taste and texture, serve your creamed spinach warm. If you need to reheat it, do so gently over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
Tip #10: Presentation Matters
For an elegant presentation, consider serving the creamed spinach in individual ramekins or gratin dishes. You can also garnish the dish with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs or toasted nuts for added texture and visual appeal.
- 2 lbs. Fresh Spinach washed and stemmed
- 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
- 1 small Onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- ¾ cups Heavy Cream
- ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese (optional) grated
- In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes, until wilted. Drain the spinach in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Squeeze out excess water and coarsely chop the spinach. Set aside.2 lbs. Fresh Spinach
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, 1 small Onion, 2 cloves Garlic
- Stir in the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 3-4 minutes, allowing the cream to thicken slightly.¾ cups Heavy Cream
- Add the chopped spinach to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until the spinach is heated through and fully incorporated into the sauce.
- Season with ground nutmeg, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. If using Parmesan cheese, stir it in now.¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg, Salt and freshly ground black pepper, ½ cup Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- Serve your creamed spinach hot as a delicious side dish to your favorite main course.