Although Spinach is delicious both cooked and raw, my preference is to walk the line in-between those two. I line a plate or bowl with a good handful, and then serve whatever I have cooked right on top of the leaves, causing them to wilt. This is especially pleasing for me with a ladleful of beef stew, or seared tuna with a simple pan sauce.
If I sauté or roast a simple protein then perhaps a bit or chopped garlic or shallot thrown into the rendered fat in the pan for just a couple seconds, and a splash of balsamic will make a lovely warm dressing to drizzle over everything.
My other big favorite, is to rough chop and add to a bowl of hot soup, potato most often for this.
- 3 lbs. white or gold potato
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 medium onion (preferably white)
- 2 large carrots
- 2 tbs oil or fat of your preference
- 1 hot pepper (Jalapeño, Serrano, Fresno, hot wax, etc.)
- 1 cup cream
- 2 quarts light colored stock of your choice
- 1/2 lbs mushrooms (oyster or shiitake)
- 2 cups spinach
Peel and cut the potatoes.
Using a large heavy sauce or stock pan, place the potatoes in stock or water to generously cover, and bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until tender when speared with a knife.
While the potatoes cook, finely chop the garlic and onion, set aside.
Peel the carrots and cut into somewhat chunky, but bite sized for soup, about a half inch at most. Heat a sauté pan over fairly high heat and using the oil or fat, add the carrots first.
Keep that pan hot, and don’t stir too much. Let those carrots get a little bit of color. When the carrots are showing color pretty much all around, add the chopped onion, reducing the heat a bit, and continuing to cook until the onions are becoming golden brown.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring for a minute or so more. Add a little of the cooking liquid from the potatoes to slow things down and deglaze the pan.
Return to the now boiled potatoes and using a masher for a more rustic texture, or a potato ricer for a very smooth texture, mash the potatoes.
The one thing that I will say here is that if the potatoes see the inside of a blender, the texture of the soup will be along the lines of wallpaper paste, so just take my word for it, and do not do it. Same for immersion blenders.
Once the potatoes are acceptably mashed (I honestly, leave them a bit chunky) or riced and returned to the pan, add everything from the sauté pan straight into the soup.
Place the pot over medium low heat, add the cream, and then add the remaining stock, as needed to achieve a velvety consistency. Stir regularly. From here on out, it will stick and scorch, very quickly.
Pour a few drops of any kitchen oil onto your hands and coat your hands entirely, as if putting on lotion. Split open the hot pepper, discard the stem, and scrape out the seeds and the worst of the veins from the pepper, then finely chop the pepper, and add it to the simmering soup. Wash your hands thoroughly, and apply the oil “lotion” again. This practice with the oil will not completely prevent inadvertent transfer to uncomfortable places, but it will reduce the risk dramatically.
Allow 20-30 minutes cooking (stirring regularly) for flavors to meld. Season with salt and a light sprinkling of black pepper.
When near ready to serve: Appropriately clean and sauté, or grill the mushrooms, then cut into bite size pieces. Roughly slice the spinach. Use generously sized bowls, and add a handful of the spinach, and then some of the mushrooms, right to the bowl.
Ladle in the hot soup, and serve.