I love cooking with what I have. Going to the grocery store, seeing what is fresh, on sale, or just appealing to me, and taking it home to make something different. Something tasty. And preferably, something traditional.
Sometimes, though, I don't know exactly what to do with the produce. But I have, without exaggeration, 17 cookbooks, 6 of which are in Polish and I am always looking for more. This time, I looked up Szpinak (pronounced "Sh-pee-nahk" and meaning "Spinach") in my Kuchnia Polska tradycyjna book.
And found Szpinak po Polsku (pronounced "Poh Pohl-skoo" and meaning "in Polish style"), which struck me as being very much like Creamed Spinach. I wasn't sure if I had ever had it this way before. My father wasn't sure either, his response was "I should have but I don't know." Of course, once I made it, everyone thought it looked and tasted delicious.
And the kids? They gobbled it up. My older child said it was "now officially on her list of favorite foods." Here is the way I made it, based on the recipe from the book. Next time, I think I will use less milk, and maybe try a small amount with white vinegar, just to see.
2 bunches of Spinach (or roughly 4 lbs.)
1 Tablespoon Flour
A few Tablespoons Milk (I used about 8 this time)
1 Tablespoon Butter
Optional: A Tablespoon of White Vinegar or Lemon Juice
Wash Spinach, sort, and tear off stems. Toss into a boiling pot of water and allow to cook for a minute. Remove. Allow water to return to a boil. Toss back in and cook for a minute. Remove. Do this a few times. This is according to the recipe. I'm not exactly sure the purpose of doing it this way but it might be to cook the spinach and remove bitterness without overcooking or losing the shape, texture, or color of the spinach and turning it into mush.
The last time (I did it about 6 times), take out and drain well, allowing to cool. Use a sharp knife to cut up Spinach into smaller pieces.
In a large saucepan, mix Flour with cold Milk well. Heat for a few minutes until thickened and cook for an additional couple of minutes, stirring constantly. (Can you say "Country Gravy"?)
Add Salt to taste. Add Spinach and mix in.
At this point, if you like, you can add an Egg and mix in, heating gently until protein is cooked. I really liked the addition of the Egg in this, personally.
Just before serving, add a Tablespoon of Butter and mix in gently.
For the original article, check out my Spinach po polsku recipe
Polish Mama on the Prairie
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