I created this ridiculously delicious side dish when I had a craving for a steakhouse meal... but then realized that I still had to feed a 2 1/2 year old (and I'm not one for making separate meals for the kiddos!). I wanted to maintain the richness of classic steakhouse creamed spinach, but make it healthier and heartier. This spinach, which gets its velvety creaminess from polenta instead of heavy cream (which is normally used in addition butter and sometimes even bacon fat) did the job perfectly! —One Hungry Mama
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Sauté shallots until they start to turn golden brown.
Add spinach in two batches—when the first has wilted completely, add the second, along with ¼ teaspoon salt. When all of the spinach has wilted, you'll find that it has released some liquid. Turn heat to high and allow liquid to cook off, about 7-10 minutes. Press spinach along the way to make sure you release all excess liquid. Set spinach aside.
Put broth on medium-low flame to heat through. In the meantime, whisk together polenta and flour. Set aside
Heat remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour/polenta mix, whisking for about 1 minute. Add 1/3 of the hot broth and whisk until smooth. Repeat 2 more times, until all of the broth is mixed in smooth. Cook polenta for 1-2 minutes, whisking the entire time.
Add milk, a little at a time, continuing to whisk. Once the milk is incorporated, cook polenta another 1-2 minutes.
Take polenta off heat. Immediately add spinach (excluding any liquid that has accumulated), parmesan, pepper, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt.