Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Feta Spinach - A Healthy & Tasty Take on Good 'ol Creamed Spinach

A month since my last post ... with a two week interlude in Northern Europe and I was in need of green vegetables! Last night spinach salad ... tonight, I wanted more spinach but needed a new and tasty way to present it so John wouldn't bore himself with salad and salad and salad:)))

Enter, creamed spinach. I have to admit, I am afraid of creamed spinach. Whenever I have seen or eaten it - well - it looks and often tastes like sludge or alternatively a vat of butter. Neither of those are in keeping with my taste buds or health habits. So I reviewed a few recipes on FoodNetwork and then modified to my heart's content.

The result - John loved it! His former opinion of cooked spinach was very low - to the point that I was worried he'd not eat his spinach (Popeye be damned) ... wrong I was. So if you want to enjoy a little healthy greenery, try this low(er) fat version of a favorite.

Feta Spinach, with Pine Nuts
  • 4-5 Cups Raw Baby Spinach
  • 1-2 Tbsps Raw Pine Nuts
  • 1/2 Small Shallot, Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Smashed & Diced
  • 1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tbsp Low Fat Sour Cream
  • 2 Tbsps Crumbled Feta
  • 1 Tsp butter or Olive Oil (I mixed em & it was super tasty)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
The funniest thing I read in all the recipes for creamed spinach was that they wanted you to blanch the spinach, drain and then chop it. Save yourself some time - Microwave it! (seriously, 10 minutes to boil water, then cook and then redrain watered down spinach!???!) So Microwave that spinach in a pyrex dish and then roughly chop it.

Make your bit of chicken broth and let it cool down a bit.

Heat a pan on med-hi with 1/2 of the butter or oil. Saute the shallot & garlic until golden. Add the pine nuts and toast till lightly browned - during this step, don't leave the stove as pine nuts can go from toast to burnt in a split second! Add the remaining butter or oil and then the spinach.

While you stir the spinach and let it continue to wilt/saute, mix the sour cream into the cooled chicken broth. This mixture + the feta will take the place of your 'cream' and add a ton more flavor. Once the spinach is no longer wilting, add the liquid and let simmer for a minute. Don't be alarmed that you will get a clump or two of sour cream that wants to react negatively to the heat. Once you add the cheese this will subside.

Add the feta and grind some pepper in. Stir for another minute or so. Taste to determine if you need more salt - the chicken broth and feta are quite salty, so definitely test first. Add more if needed and you are done! Serve with your favorite entree ... tonight I served this alongside a simple Chicken Paillard and some roasted bell peppers.

Compare that to a real creamed spinach and you'll find a lot less fat with a lot more flavor!