Spinach is one of those things that took time for me to actually enjoy eating.
I liked Popeye as much as the next kid, but even he didn’t make me want to eat leafy vegetables.
Instead, we grew together slowly, with dishes that almost completely hid those greens, such as lasagna, calzones, or spinach-artichoke dip, which is filled with enough cream cheese and other things to make you forget your name, let alone what you’re eating.
Somewhere along the line, it kind of sneaked up on me as a faithful friend. It was almost as if one day, I realized I actually thought it was delicious, that most things I’d tried it in were things I liked eating.
And now, I’ll be darned if I don’t like it steamed, boiled, or cooked up into some sort of quiche or frittata.
If there’s spinach, I’m in.
The recipe is simply flavored with onions and vegetable stock, and lightly thickened with egg yolks, cream, and flour. It’s given a silky finish with a few pats of butter. Hey, it’s inspired by Julia Child, after all…
You’ll enjoy dipping your spoon in a bowl of this, seeing all the vibrant swirls of spinach. And after a few sips of it in your belly, and the smell of it wafting through your kitchen, savory and strong, I bet you’ll become just as obsessed as I am.Print
Forgot about that bag of spinach in your fridge? It’s not too late to make a velvety, savory cream of spinach soup.
- Cook the onions in 3 tablespoons of the butter in a 3-quart saucepan on medium heat until tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped spinach and cook for another 5 minutes, until the leaves are tender and wilted. Sprinkle in the flour and stir over medium heat for 3 minutes.
- While the spinach is cooking, simmer the vegetable stock in a separate small pot. Once it is at a low simmer, add it into the spinach mixture and keep warm over low heat.
- Whisk together the egg yolks and cream in a small mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, very slowly pour in one cup of the hot soup until completely incorporated. Gradually add the tempered mixture back to the soup in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Warm the mixture, while stirring, for a couple minutes.
- After everything is combined, remove from heat. Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve while warm.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Gather and Prep Ingredients
Chop the yellow onion and roughly slice the leaves.
Measure out the all-purpose flour, vegetable stock, light cream, salt, and pepper. Break the two eggs, and separate the yolks from the egg whites.
Step 2 – Cook the Onions
Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the onions and saute for just a few minutes, until the onions are slightly softened and lightly browned.
Step 3 – Cook the Spinach and Flour
Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Sprinkle in the flour and continue stirring. Let the flour cook for a few minutes so it can be completely absorbed by the spinach.
Step 4 – Add Stock
While the spinach is cooking, simmer the stock in a separate medium pot. Once it reaches a low simmer, add it to the spinach mixture and stir. Keep the soup warm, without simmering or boiling, over very low heat.
Step 5 – Make the Liaison
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and heavy cream.
Temper the mixture: Whisking constantly, very slowly pour in one cup of the warm soup until it is completely incorporated. Gradually add the tempered mixture back to the soup in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Heat the mixture, while still stirring, for just a couple of minutes.
This is your liaison, a combination of cream and eggs that is a common thickening agent in kitchens, which relies on the coagulation of proteins from the eggs. Like the flour, the liaison will help to thicken the soup, but will also provide a velvety final texture.
Make sure the soup is not boiling while you’re cooking during this step. Because of the egg content, this is a delicate process – you don’t want to end up with scrambled egg soup!
For more info on tempering, check out our creme brulee article.
Step 6 – Finish with Butter
After everything is combined, remove from heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to enrich the soup.
Serve immediately, while it’s still warm.
Go Get Those Greens!
Not only is spinach seriously worth enjoying (or letting grow on you) for the taste factor, it’s also good for you, like Popeye said. When gently cooked, it still retains all kinds of vitamins and minerals, like A, C, K, magnesium, and folic acid.
But don’t worry. We won’t force you to eat it right from the can.
Use a big bag of the fresh leaves in this potent potage, simply seasoned and thickened with just a few ingredients, to enjoy the spinach as the bright green star of this velvety dish.
For the freshest version that you’ll ever taste, you could even use spinach that you grew in your own garden. Try these tips, from our sister site, Gardener’s Path.
So, as Popeye would sing, be “strong to the fini-ch,” and eat your spinach!
How do you like incorporating one of my favorite ingredients in tasty recipes? Tell us how you eat your greens in the comment section below, and take a look at some of our other soup recipes.
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Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on January 5th, 2009. Last updated: July 6, 2018 at 7:49 am with additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.