"Creamed spinach is one of those super-retro dishes that might have taken a dip in popularity due to too many stodgy, tasteless white sauces. But if you ask around, so many people adore it. I remember the days when creamed spinach was a standard “vegetable side” served at most fancy restaurants – it is still my absolute favourite accompaniment to crumbed chicken (oh, how I loved the glory days of schnitzels…). Here’s an easy and decadent recipe, made without a classic white sauce, but using multiple cheeses and cream. It uses a lot of spinach to begin with, but as you know, spinach shrinks like crazy. You’ll end up with enough to feed a hungry crowd or you can save some for next time – creamed spinach freezes exceptionally well."
- 2 T butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
- 750–800 g Swiss chard, washed and chopped (don’t discard the stalks, just slice them finely)
- 1 cup cream
- 125 g plain cream cheese
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan
- ¼ t ground nutmeg
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- a little milk (optional)
1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan (about 30 cm wide) over a medium heat and add the onion. Fry until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the garlic and cook, stirring, for a further minute.
2. Add the chopped spinach – it will look like a lot, but it will shrink. Increase the heat and stir, then cover and allow the spinach to steam and wilt. Stir every 2–3 minutes until the spinach has wilted completely, then add the cream and cream cheese, stirring until smooth. Reduce the heat to low and bring to a simmer.
3. Add the mozzarella, Parmesan and nutmeg and season generously with salt and pepper. If the mixture is too thick, thin it down with a little milk – you don’t want it runny, so just add a little at a time. Remove from the heat, taste again to see if the seasoning is spot on, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve warm as a side dish.
Extracted with permission from Simply Seasonal: recipes inspired by nature, by Ilse van der Merwe, photography by Tasha Seccombe, Published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House South Africa (Pty) Ltd.