Creamed Spinach with Bacon
If you’ve been reading this site for a while you’ll know that we are big spinach fans here. We get spinach fresh from the farmers market every Saturday morning, and it disappears quickly.
Here is a creamed spinach dish that my father made for dinner the other night inspired from a recipe he found in the Sacramento Bee.
The spinach gets its creaminess from a béchamel sauce based on a flour and butter roux. There’s actually no cream in the spinach, it uses milk instead. The bacon adds wonderful flavor, but you can easily skip it if you are so inclined.
If you are using fresh mature spinach (not cleaned baby spinach), you'll need to clean it thoroughly. Cut off the thick stems of the spinach and discard. Clean the spinach by filling up your sink with water and soaking the spinach to loosen any sand or dirt. Drain the spinach and then repeat soaking and draining.
- 1 pound fresh spinach, about 2 large bunches, thoroughly cleaned
- 3 to 4 strips of bacon, uncooked, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
- A pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup whole milk
1 Blanch and chop the spinach: Blanch the spinach in a pot of boiling water until the spinach is wilted, about 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the spinach from cooking further.
Squeeze the spinach to remove all the moisture possible. Chop the spinach and set aside.
2 Sauté bacon, onions, garlic: Heat a large skillet on medium high. Add the chopped bacon and sauté until the bacon begins to render some of its fat.
Add the chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent.
3 Make the béchamel sauce. Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium/low heat until it just starts to bubble. Add the flour and cook, stirring until smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously, cooking until thick.
4 Combine spinach, bacon and onion mixture, and béchamel sauce into one pan. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat and serve.