Laurie Colwin's Creamed Spinach

December 23, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Laurie Colwin altered her version or creamed spinach a bit from one served to her in Dallas during a literary festival by a cook named Betty Josey. "It was so good it made me want to sit up and beg like a dog," Colwin wrote. If you don't have one thing, you can make do—you don't want to keep cans of evaporated milk around just to use 1/2 cup in this recipe, any mix of cream and milk will work; you want to use Gruyère, great; you don't have celery salt, fine. Adapted slightly from Home Cooking (Harper Perennial, 1988).Genius Recipes

Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 2 10-ounce packages frozen spinach
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
  • one or more jalapeño peppers, chopped (fresh or pickled)
  • Buttered bread crumbs (I used 1/2 cup breadcrumbs mixed with 2 tablespoons melted butter)
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Cook the spinach. Drain, reserving one cup of liquid, and chop fine.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Blend and cook a little. Do not brown.
  3. Add onion and garlic.
  4. Add one cup of spinach liquid slowly, then add evaporated milk, black pepper, celery salt, and cheese. Add one or more jalapeño peppers (how many is a question of taste as well as what kind. Colwin used the pickled kind, from a jar. I used one fresh), and the spinach. Cook until all is blended.
  5. Turn into a buttered casserole topped with buttered bread crumbs, and bake for about 45 minutes at 300° F until the top is crisp and golden. If you want to speed up the browning, toast under the broiler.

More Great Recipes:
American|Cheese|Celery|Spinach|Vegetable|Milk/Cream|Serves a Crowd|Fall|Christmas|Father's Day|Mother's Day|Thanksgiving

Reviews (20) Questions (2)

20 Reviews

Suzy Q. November 21, 2017
Is there any reason I can't use fresh baby spinach? If so, how many ounces?<br />Thank you to anyone who answers before thanksgiving!<br />Much appreciation
 
plegalmom November 21, 2017
Looking at online conversions, 1 lb. fresh equals 10 oz. frozen, so 2 lb. fresh for the recipe . You will need the reserved spinach water!
 
Cusegirl December 26, 2016
This was very good. I used pepper jack with the jalapeños - but it wasn't too spicy. I cooked it at 350 because I had two other 350 dishes and the temp change didn't make a difference. I ran it under the broiler for 60-90 seconds to brown the crumbs. Made the day before and stored in airtight container till I was ready to cook. It was a holiday hit. I would make it again!
 
plegalmom November 14, 2016
This is a Christmas Eve must in my house...I've made it many times, and it can be adapted to what you have on hand. I sometimes use pepperjack cheese and leave out the jalapeno. Make it! And read Home Cooking and More Home Cooking!
 
Elizabeth October 19, 2016
The tag doesn't lie: this indeed IS a genius ecipe.
 
Erin F. August 1, 2016
I first cooked this recipe when I read Home Cooking. I remembered it and wanted to use it again for a dinner party, but couldn't put my hands on the book to save my life. After combing my bookcases in vain, I tried a Google search and found your site. Yay! I remember that when she first tired it, the cook had used Pepper Jack cheese, but she couldn't find that so she used the pickled Jalapeno peppers. I also wanted to encourage everyone who loves this recipe to read Colwin's book, Home Cooking. It is as delightful as her creamed spinach.
 
Cyndi H. February 21, 2016
Made it as written and enjoyed it. What about using feta cheese instead of Jack or Gruyere? Or Feta combined with another cheese? Any ideas or suggestions?
 
NotTooSweet January 30, 2016
YUM! My husband and I really enjoyed this. I made it with 2 10 oz. packages of chopped spinach. After making sure I had wrung all the moisture out, I was concerned if I had enough spinach, but it came out just fine. I used one good size fresh jalapeno (chopped) and it was perfect for us. I did use twice the amount of chopped onion, just because we love onion! Definitely a keeper and would recommend to anyone on the fence about trying it.
 
caroline0ne January 28, 2016
MINE IS IN THE OVEN. I CAN'T WAIT; BUT I TOO WONDERED ABOUT HOW TO ADD THE JALEPENO. IT DIDN'T SAY TO CHOP, SOUNDED LIKE MAYBE IT SHOULD JUST BE DROPPED IN WHOLE. BUT I MINCED IT, AND ADDED IT TO THE POT. HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MANY RAVE REVIEWS. CAN'T WAIT TO TASTE IT. AND THE OMELET SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT IDEA. ALTHOUGH IT WOULD WORK AS A BASE FOR POACHED EGGS.
 
Kristen M. January 28, 2016
Thanks for notifying me about the jalapeno—I've updated the recipe!
 
Dana T. December 31, 2015
Winning! I'm in love. My mouth is perfectly on fire from the jalapeño. This is the best way to eat vegetables. I look forward to tomorrow's omelet made with the leftovers, as suggested by another fan of this recipe. <br />I used the cheese I had on hand (mozzarella and parm). Fabulous.
 
Claire S. December 28, 2015
This recipe appeared in River Road Recipes, the Junior League of Baton Rouge's cookbook, in the 60's. Some of us have been making it for so long we have it memorized. https://www.juniorleaguebr.org/?nd=full&key=2
 
Niknud December 28, 2015
Ok, I commented on the article page, but I'm commenting here as well because I freaking loved this recipe. Like, loved loved. Like, may put this in my pillow case so I can sleep with this stuff all nights and have savory-jalapeno dreams. We used fresh jalapenos and it gave it just enough bite to cut through some of the richness from the cheese. I am going to make this again and again and again. And, if I may suggest a left-over use, we used this and left-over steak for omelets the next morning and they were ridiculous with a little green-jalapeno hot sauce.
 
Esther December 26, 2015
Looks great! Do I need to chop up the pickled jalapeño, or will it come apart and blend in through the cooking process? (Avoiding chopping jalapeño would be my motivation for using pickled instead of fresh.)
 
Kristen M. December 27, 2015
When I used pickled, they were pre-sliced, and I bet they'd fall apart pretty easily, or you could snip them with kitchen shears to keep your hands free. But a rough chop of the fresh jalapeno is pretty easy and hands-free too—all depends on what you're in the mood for!
 
Jessica C. December 24, 2015
How much is two packages of spinach? 10 oz bags?
 
Kristen M. December 26, 2015
Yes! Thanks for asking—I just updated the recipe.
 
Jessica C. December 26, 2015
Thanks! Just made it in a Dutch oven and it was great! With the Monterey Jack cheese it was way milder tasting than I expected. Next time will try with a saltier cheese like the Gruyere that you suggested above. Thank you! Happy holidays!
 
melissav December 23, 2015
Can you do the assembly a day or day and a half ahead of time and then bake the day of?
 
Kristen M. December 23, 2015
Yes, definitely! I'd leave the breadcrumbs off till just before baking though.