Cheesy Spinach Gratin
I don’t know about you but my favorite part about Thanksgiving dinner is the sides. Growing up, my family Thanksgiving gatherings were more of a potluck because there were so many of us. This meant there was always a ridiculous buffet of anything and everything. I DO love a great dessert but I always gorged myself on so many sides that I never had room left to try any of the desserts. And believe me…that table was overflowing with goodness as well. But once you unbutton your pants….it’s time to pull back a bit and put the fork down.
Now that it’s just a small part of my family that gets together (because, frankly, the family just got toooo big I think.) I make my favorites. And I’ve tweaked them just enough over the years that they are now perfect (to me anyway)….and a tradition. It makes hosting the holiday easier if you have some go-to dishes that you know will turn out amazing even if the turkey has a mind of it’s own that day. Honestly, I don’t know anyone that says the turkey is their favorite part of the dinner anyway. So don’t sweat it!
I love creamed spinach but rarely make it at home. Years ago, I found a recipe from Ina Garten in her Barefoot Contessa Parties book that I used every holiday and just recently added my own twist to it. My twist being….garlic, extra nutmeg and a ton more cheese!
I think she got skimpy with the cheese in her recipe to tell you the truth. I just didn’t feel like it was stringy and stretchy enough at all. I had to fix that and the garlic was a no brainer. You can use less nutmeg if you want, her recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon…I doubled that because I love how nutmeg is like a little secret that nobody can figure out when added to a savory dish. And it’s just so fall. You know?
This side is so easy and quick to pull together….just make sure that your spinach is thawed before you start. (I learned the hard way years ago.) And you can make assemble the dish with the cheese topping up to two days in advance and then bake it while the turkey is resting.
It’s amazing on a “day after Thanksgiving” turkey/grilled cheese sandwich. I’ll share that one later. 🙂
Cheesy Spinach Gratin
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large Vidalia onions, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
5 10-ounce packages chopped frozen spinach, thawed
2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 15 minutes. Stir in the flour and nutmeg and cook for about 2 minutes stirring constantly so the flour does not burn. Pour in the cream and milk and cook until thickened.
Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the spinach and add to the cream sauce. Add 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of Gruyere and stir thoroughly. Stir in the salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Transfer the spinach mixture to a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over top evenly. Bake for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Parties