Potage Creme d’Epinards: A Velvety Cream of Spinach Soup

Spinach is one of those things that took time for me to actually enjoy eating.

Vertical close-up image of a bowl filled with a velvety potage on a white towel surrounded by green leaves.

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.

Then I think I moved towards the fresh leaves in salads and in my morning fruit smoothies.

Vertical image of bowls of creamy potage on a white towel with fresh green leaves and metal and wooden spoons.

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.

Especially when it’s used in this recipe for potage creme d’epinards, or cream of spinach soup, adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Vertical close-up image of one bowl of soup mixed with greens on a white towel.

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.

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Horizontal image of three bowls of creamy potage on a white towel with fresh spinach leaves and a wooden spoon.

Potage Creme d’Epinards: Cream of Spinach Soup


  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

Forgot about that bag of spinach in your fridge? It’s not too late to make a velvety, savory cream of spinach soup.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided and softened
  • 4 cups (1 5-ounce bag) packed fresh spinach leaves, chopped into thin slices
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

Horizontal image of a slate with ingredients for spinach soup.

Using a sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board, slice the butter into two pieces: one piece that is 2 tablespoons, and another that is 3 tablespoons.

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

Horizontal image of sauteed onions in a metal pot on a white towel.

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

Horizontal image of a pot with sauteed greens and onions with a wooden spoon and a white towel.

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

Horizontal image of a stock and green leaf mixture in a metal pot with a wooden spoon and a white towel.

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

Horizontal image of a whisk in a yellow mixture in a white bowl.

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.

Horizontal image of a yellow soup with green leaves in a pot with a wooden spoon and a towel on a grey wooden surface.

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

Horizontal image of three bowls of creamy potage on a white towel with fresh spinach leaves and a wooden spoon.

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.

Horizontal image of bowls filled with a creamy potage, with one bowl empty, on a white towel with leaves and spoons.

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!

Horizontal image of a bowl of potage on a slate with a spoon.

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.

Love this recipe? Be sure to rate it!


Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing Potage Creme d’Epinards: A Velvety (French Cream of Spinach Soup).

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.

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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.

12 thoughts on “Potage Creme d’Epinards: A Velvety Cream of Spinach Soup

  1. first off, there is nothing wrong with doing multiple soup posts! especially during this time of year. 🙂

    2nd, personally, i love spinach, always have. i’ve only had spinach soup with any type of cream in it once. growing up, i’ve always had spinach soup vietnamese style which is so delish and refreshing. will have to make it soon.

    keep the soup recipes coming! 🙂

  2. this looks so delicious and sound even better. I went through a serious spinach phase last year and I feel it coming on again! thanks for all the yummy soups!

    ps–I nominated you for a weblog award for best food blog of 2009. 🙂 I love it here!

  3. I LOVE spinach. I’m spending some quality time with it right now because I cannot have gluten for the next 2 months. I’m eating a lot more fruit and vegetables.

  4. Lan: Phew! Glad to know the soups haven’t scared you away. This one’s a keeper. (And, ahem from Julia… just saying…) 🙂

    Chessa: You’re very kind. Really. I feel honored, and thank you!

    Rae: Mmmmn… sounds delish!

    Joanna: No gluten, huh? That’s tricky. But enough good recipes like this one, and the time will fly (I hope). At least more produce is in season down there, right? Or maybe not..?

  5. let me tell you, i am obsessed with spinach right now. seriously, i just took a handful of spinach out of the fridge about half an hour ago and munched on it plain and raw. i’m about to get some more in a minute. and i kind of feel like popeye when i do it. 🙂

    i’m glad that you and spinach have found each other. aren’t relationships with food the best? and i’m loving your photos!

  6. Jacqui, You are, hands down, Vegetable Queen. I love that you love spinach (and so many other greens) so much. I want to be like that.

  7. Can’t wait to try this! I’m already committed to both spinach and soup, so it was an easy sell, but there’s no doubt your photo of the whole meal laid out before me put me over the edge! 🙂

  8. Found the right soup to serve today! I’m so happy I’d be reliving my Popeye memories. I’ll pair it with a killer garlic bread, a recipe I stumbled upon last week. Thanks Shan. I’m really loving this blog.

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