Saturday, December 3, 2011

Creamed Spinach with Gruyere & Bacon

I whipped up this simple creamed spinach recipe for this year's Thanksgiving dinner.  While I used frozen spinach, you can certainly start with fresh spinach:  Simply wash, trim and steam until just wilted, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  You can also double this recipe to feed more folks - my version makes 4 side servings.  You can substitute pancetta for the bacon, if you prefer.  A whisk is essential for making the cream sauce.

1 bag (regular, not family size) frozen spinach, thawed
2 slices bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs flour (I use whole wheat)
3/4 cup milk (whole or reduced fat, not skim)
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
Dash of ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Steam or microwave the spinach until just cooked.  Squeeze out excess liquid--I turn out the spinach into a fine-mesh colander and press with a large spoon or spatula.  Set aside.

To make the cream sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan large enough to hold the spinach.  When the butter is melted, stir in the flour and cook for several minutes over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until light-golden in color.  Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly with a whisk, and continue to cook until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.  When thickened, stir in the pepper, nutmeg and cheese.  Continue to whisk until the cheese is melted.  Add the spinach and crumbled bacon, and use a large spoon or spatula to fold into the sauce.  Transfer everything into a casserole dish, cover and cook in oven at 375°F until heated through (about 30 minutes).

Zestfully yours,

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