Spinach Gratin

Spinach GratinThanksgiving Roulette
I admit. I am a Thanksgiving purist. There should be turkey. There should be mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing. There should be cranberries. And yes, let there be pie. Pecan and Pumpkin pie to be exact. I would prefer that this menu not be messed with. For most of my life things were as they should be…then I got married.

Once married, we made the decision to split the holidays amongst the two families—which means that we spend Thanksgiving with my In-Laws and Christmas is with my family. For the first few years Thanksgiving was an adjustment. I love my in-laws. They are awesome people, and my mother-in-law is a great cook. But they do Thanksgiving differently, and I had to learn to adjust.

Don’t get me wrong. The usual things are there: turkey, potatoes, stuffing, etc. But there were other dishes that were new to me. Sweet Potato Tsimmes with Pecans and Prunes is one, and has since become my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. (Who’da thunk it?) It is the vegetable dishes that seem to be in a constant state of flux. Sometimes it’s broccoli, and sometimes it’s green beans… Just like Forrest said, you never know what you’re going to get. (Thank goodness it hasn’t been brussels sprouts ‘cause…no.)

I am pleasantly surprised to say that after 14 years, I enjoy this little bit of change, and if it were up to me, I would offer Ina Garten’s Spinach Gratin as the vegetable of choice this year. It’s rich, creamy, and very good. And on a day reserved for feasting, why not?

Ina Garten’s Spinach Gratin
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties
Yields 8 Servings
(There is even a video of how to make this dish.)

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
3 pounds frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (5 (10-ounce) packages)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

First melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are translucent, or for about 15 minutes.

Add the flour and nutmeg to the onions, and continue to cook, stirring, for about 2 more minutes. Add the cream and milk and cook until the mixture is thickened.

Squeeze all the liquid you can from the spinach, and add it to the onion sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the spinach to a buttered baking dish, and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and the Gruyere on top. Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve hot.

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