Make Ahead

Cozy Spinach Timbales with Sauteed Tomatoes

March 12, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Timbales can involve a number of ingredients but need to have a base ingredient that holds the dish together when it's unmolded. The molds can be a number of shapes but typically taper towards the bottom for easy unmolding. I only had some ramekins, so that's what I went with. This is a great comfort-food dish to enjoy during the winter as it's essentially a spinach custard. The secret ingredients that really make this so full flavored is the chicken broth that is reduced almost to a glaze and then added to the milk/cream base and browning the butter before sauteeing the spinach in it. The sauteed tomatoes adds a burst of flavor contrast. This goes great with a salad for lunch or with roast meats for dinner. Really yummy and soul satisfying. —TheWimpyVegetarian

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon gruyere cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/2 pound spinach leaves only (this equates to about 13 oz spinach with the stems on)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • juice from 1/4 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1 1/2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter the molds you will use and line the bottoms with buttered parchment paper.
  2. Reduce the chicken broth to about 1 tablespoon. It will thicken and become almost like a glaze. Set aside.
  3. Combine the milk, cream and smashed garlic in a small pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and steep with the garlic for 20 minutes. Remove the garlic and add the cheese, reheating slightly if necessary to melt the cheese. Add the reduced chicken broth. Set aside.
  4. In a saute pan, melt the butter and keep it over medium heat while it turns a deep golden brown. When it's a nut brown, add the shallots and saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the spinach and lemon juice, constantly turning to completely wilt the leaves. Add the nutmeg, salt and white pepper and saute another minute. Remove from the pan, finely chop, and return to the pan.
  5. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the spinach mixture and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the milk/cream/broth base, bring to a simmer and remove from heat to cool. When cool, whisk the egg pretty thoroughly and add to the mixture.
  6. Pour into the molds. Place the molds in a baking pan and fill the pan with hot water half way up the sides of the molds. Bake for 20 minutes or until set.
  7. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the custard base to set up. Run a sharp knife around the outside and carefully flip over to unmold onto a plate.
  8. Saute the tomatoes in the butter. Salt and pepper to taste and spoon over the spinach timbales.
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6 Reviews

dymnyno March 13, 2010
I love this reminds me of Anne Willan's twice baked spinach souffles....yours is different but definately my kind of spinach!
TheWimpyVegetarian March 13, 2010
Thanks so much! What I liked about this one was that I added just enough of the custard base to get it to hold together so that it's big on the spinach flavor and not too heavy or rich. I'll have to look up Anne Willan's twice baked spinach souffle and see if I can find it on line. I'm doing a cooking class on farm soon to feature their greens so I'm collecting and developing all kinds of "greens" recipes right now. Thanks!
dymnyno March 13, 2010
Yours doen't have the heavy sauce that hers does...I am making yours for a side dish for a dinner party tonight...the cherry tomatoes are just what I need for some color too.
TheWimpyVegetarian March 13, 2010
Have fun with your party tonight! Hope to meet you at the next Food52BayArea potluck! I'll be interested in hearing any suggestions you would have about this dish once you've made it too.
monkeymom March 12, 2010
Looks lovely! Can you do it in one bigger dish too?
TheWimpyVegetarian March 13, 2010
I think you'd have trouble flipping it out of a bigger dish and having it stay in one smooth piece. And flipping it out is one of the things that defines it as a timbale. If you're doing it in a bigger dish, I'd just leave it in the dish and call it cozy spinach custard. It will taste just as good and still be a cozy little side dish for a rainy day like today :-)