Food & Drink

I'm Chris - or Christopher - or Mr. Dean - or Master Christopher - or just plain Sir. I'm a self-professed foodie. I love to cook and I take great pleasure in all things edible. My husband and I are relatively new to Portland, Oregon and are enjoying our culinary explorations of the area!

Food is NOT just fuel!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spinach Gratin

I saw this recipe posted at one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen.  I decided it would be a lovely side dish last night, so I set out to make a Spinach Gratin.  The recipe according to SK calls for 3 pounds of spinach.  Well, I'm all about flavor - and I didn't want to pull out my MEGA pot to house all 3 pounds, AND it was a side dish for I cut it to 1 pound (got a lovely pre-washed container of baby spinach).  However, I kept all the other measurements the same, and I separated it into 2 gratin dishes for the baking at the end.  PERFECT!

Here's the spinach after cooking/wilting it down, shocking it, and then squeeeeeezing the water out:

And here's the mixture right before I added the topping and threw it in the oven.

Finished product:

Recipe (with my changes - makes 2 servings):

1 pound fresh spinach, stemmed & washed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cup chicken stock (stock is up to you, vegetable would work fine)
3/4 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko)

Stem & wash your spinach, but no need to spin dry.  In fact, you want a little residual water on the spinach.  If you buy pre-washed like I did, just sprinkle it with a generous amount of water.  Get your pot over high heat, and place the spinach in.  Cook, stirring often, for about 2 - 4 minutes for baby spinach (more for regular spinach) until all the leaves are wilted.  Pull spinach out and place in a bowl full of cold water to shock it, and stop the cooking process.  Drain the water away, and squeeze handfuls of spinach to drain as much water as you can.  Chop all the spinach roughly.

Dry the pot, and melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat.  Stir in the spinach, and cook for about 3 minutes until most of the moisture has cooked away.  Lower the heat to medium, and sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly.  Cook this for about 2 minutes to get rid of the flour flavor, and then begin adding the stock.  Stir in a little of the liquid at a time to fully incorporate it.  As you add the last of the stock, add another tablespoon of butter.  At this point, season with salt & pepper.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly butter two gratin dishes (or shallow, oven-safe dishes).  Stir 1/2 cup cheese into the spinach mixture and combine thoroughly.  Separate this mixture into the two gratin dishes evenly.  You can either place 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish at this point, or melt the full remaining tablespoon and pour 1/2 over each.  Combine the remaining cheese with the breadcrumbs, and then layer this out over the top of each dish.  Bake for 22 - 26 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.


  1. I made this tonight for dinner. I decided at the last minute to do this recipe because I found some gorgeous spinach and needed to use it. I didn't have the recommended cheese, but did have a block of parmesan regianno. It was delicious. It was the maiden voyage of our new kitchen and I wanted something to celebrate that. I made the error of using my new convection oven without reading up on convection ovens. The flavor was wonderful, but in kind of browned the cheese, not melted it. It was actually very good this way (crunchy), but I think a creamier version would be better. The recipe, however, was great. I also used Italian bread crumbs bought from a really great Italian grocer, Viviano's, in St. Louis.

  2. Parm. would certainly be great in this - I think I'll try that next time!