I grew up on a combination of wonderful homemade delicacies from around the world and a mix of Stouffer's, Swanson and Campbell's. Not surprising, they each have their own fond memory. The creamy tomato soup and grilled cheese on a snowy day or the pot pie my mom would stick in the toaster oven, handing me a timer and one of my own potholders made on a plastic loom as she and my dad headed out for the night. One frozen item I remember with both fondness and a wee bit of revulsion was the creamed spinach. When done correctly, the top would get brown and crusty and if you were lucky, it was served with some chicken cutletkis. But it could also be a gelatinous horror, something pushed to all edges of the plate.
When I lived in Paris during a semester in college I would cook a few meals for myself a week and found a method of sorts to make creamed spinach quite often. Their spinach was frozen into small spheres in a bag which meant you could take just a few at a time. I would make a quick roux, add milk and cheese and fold in the spinach to eat with toast.
And now this latest incarnation makes use of the never-ending bounty of chard from the
garden...whether freshly harvested or thawed from the freezer. I don't know that I could go back to the frozen brick of spinach glop, but I am glad it introduced me to the concept early on. —savorthis
large bunches chard, (1 1/2 cups blanched), spinach or kale
Remove stems from greens and roughly chop. Blanch in salted water for a few minutes. Rinse under cold water until you can handle it and squeeze out the excess water. Chop finely.
Warm milk. Cut bacon into small pieces and render until brown. Remove to a paper towel. Pour off all but 1 T fat and brown shallots. Add butter until melted and whisk in flour and stir for a few minutes. Add warm milk, whisking until thickened. Stir in nutmeg, parmesan and s&p to taste. Fold in chard.