One of the things I enjoy the most about getting my produce through CSA shares is the way it challenges me in the kitchen. This week we got a massive amount of spinach, which I happen to love, but I've literally been thinking for two days straight about just how I want to go about cooking and eating it all in just a week. My solution? Cook it down!
Spinach can seem more overwhelming in quantity than it actually is, but when you cook it down it becomes far less intimidating. I love this recipe because it uses a ton of spinach and it makes it taste magical. The salty, meaty flavor of bacon fat mingles with the creamy broth to create a hearty base for the sweet, earthy spinach and pungent garlic scapes. The uses for this side dish are numerous. I decided to mix some chicken sausage into mine and pour it over a baked potato, which was delicious and filling. You could also serve it with a poached egg on top for breakfast, add it to grits or polenta, or use it as a sauce for chicken. It's versatile!
Creamed Spinach with Garlic Scapes
3 T bacon fat
1 yellow onion, diced
1 garlic scape, sliced (about 2 T)
1/2 tsp corn starch
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
8 cups tightly packed spinach leaves, stems removed
In a large pot, melt bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until lightly browned and soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic scapes, salt and pepper to taste, and corn starch and stir to coat the onions. Slowly add the milk and stock and bring mixture to a gentle boil.
Add spinach leaves and stir well to distribute heat evenly. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 4 minutes or until all the spinach has wilted and shrunk. Using an immersion blender, chop spinach until it reaches a slightly chunky but uniform consistency (alternatively, you can chop it in a food processor). Serve hot.
Serving suggestion: Add 2 cooked chicken sausages, sliced, to the creamed spinach. Pour over a baked potato.