Last November, I spent the month posting a series of recipes for an entire Thanksgiving menu. The menu included a bourbon and apple cider cocktail to kick-off the festivities and ended with a gluttonous selection of three classic pies. In between there were Parker House Rolls, a persimmon and pomegranate salad, lots of sides, and, of course, turkey (glazed with bourbon and maple syrup, no less). If, like me, you’ve just started planning for Thanksgiving and aren’t sure where to start, I’d recommend checking it out. You’ll still have to do the grocery shopping and the cooking, but having a full menu as a starting point makes planning easy and the final product won’t disappoint.
This Thanksgiving, I’m taking a different approach and focusing on the part of Thanksgiving that I like best: the vegetable sides. You can have your turkey and gravy and all the pumpkin pie you can eat, I’ll be going back for seconds (and most likely thirds) on the side dishes.
A life-long Southerner, I love me a good vegetable platter and Thanksgiving offers the opportunity to put an entire cornucopia of vegetables on your table. Today I’m kicking things off with creamed spinach, but as we lead up to Thanksgiving expect recipes featuring acorn squash, leeks, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and lots of other fall produce. As you plan your Thanksgiving menu, I hope you’ll find plenty of inspiration on this site. Happy cooking!
10 Days of Vegetable Sides Recipes
Day 1: This Recipe
Day 2: Curried Coconut & Acorn Squash Soup
Day 3: Savory Leek and Onion Bread Pudding
Day 4: Maple-Dijon Brussels Sprouts with Country Ham
Day 5: Winter Greens with Garlic and Bacon
Day 6: Homemade Green Bean Casserole
Day 7: Beet Chutney with Apples and Spices
Day 8: Braised Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic
Day 9: Mom’s Potato Casserole
More recipes to feed your inner Popeye
Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Gruyere and Spinach-stuffed Mushrooms
Salmon, Orange, and Spinach Salad
Creamed Spinach – Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 4 as part of a larger buffet
Cooking fresh spinach never fails to kill my spirit. A bountiful bowl of fresh spinach cooks down to practically nothing leaving even the most optimistic cook a bit discouraged. While I always promote fresh over frozen, spinach is my one exception. 10 ounces of frozen spinach is the equivalent of 1 1/2 lbs of fresh spinach after cooking and requires far less prep on the part of the cook. Don’t feel guilty about taking the shortcut.
If cooking for a crowd, double, triple, or quadruple this recipe.
1 1/2 lbs fresh spinach or 10-ounces frozen
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for garnish
Grated whole nutmeg, to taste
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
If using fresh spinach, wash the spinach and allow to dry. Remove and discard the stems. Place a steamer rack over water in a large Dutch oven and bring the water to a boil. Add the spinach to the steamer rack and cover the pot for about 1 minute or until the spinach has wilted. Remove the spinach from the pot and drain well.
If using frozen spinach, cook according to package directions and then drain well.
Cooking tip: To drain spinach easily, place the spinach atop a dinner plate and then set another plate on top of it (both plates right side up like you would stack them in a cabinet). Firmly press the plates together and tilt them over a sink to allow excess liquid to drain.
In a 12-inch skillet or medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and onions and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
Add the heavy cream and bring to a strong simmer. Simmer for about 1 minute until the mixture thickens. Stir in the parmesan cheese and drained spinach. Season to taste with the nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with a little more freshly grated parmesan and serve immediately. Enjoy!