I know you spinach haters are shaking your heads in vehement denial. I know because I was once one of you. I liked raw spinach in salads or on a sandwich, even plucked right out of the spring garden, but the very smell of cooked spinach would send me running, and retching, knocking china off the table in my efforts to escape … Well, maybe nothing quite that dramatic, but cooked spinach was definitely grody, as my friend Nomi is want to say.
But then. Oh then. I ate the cream of spinach soup from The Joy of Cooking and my relationship with spinach was forever altered.
“Try it,” Ramona, my friend with a spoon of what I was sure was bright green, slimy, Shrek-inspired grodiness, coaxed. “It’s got an entire pound of spinach in it.” Right. All the more reason not to eat it. But she had picked my kids up from school, and then fed them, which is no small thing. Then she’d made dinner for me, knowing I would be coming in late after an exhausting day of work. And there was freshly grated Parmesan cheese swirling around the bowl, and I do so love cheese. So I humored her.
The b0mb.com I tell you.
Not only that, but my kid likes it. The one who eyes veggies with suspicion and malice. Yeah. You parents of Children with Refined Palettes (aka, Picky Eaters) will so feel my elation. Excuse me while I wipe a little tear …
So here’s my adaptation of that recipe, without the dairy. You won’t miss it, I promise — this soup is decadently rich and smooth. All of my vegetarian friends are gaga over this soup. Even my omnivorous friends are gaga over this soup, which should tell you something! It’s oh so simple to make, taking less than thirty minutes of prep and cooking time, so busy moms (as if there are any other kind) can get this nutrition-packed meal on the table ASAP. Assuming your kids don’t run screaming from the Shrek-like grodiness.
April’s Creamy Spinach Soup
1 medium onion, diced
one entire head of roasted garlic (No, that’s not a misprint. The whole head of garlic, if you please.)
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
1 pound of spinach, washed and dried
sea salt and freshly grated pepper to taste
about 1/4 of a teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat. Add diced onions and saute until onions are translucent, or about five minutes. Squeeze in garlic cloves and saute for another minute. Pour in three cups of broth/stock and reduce heat to low.
In a separate, large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add spinach and wilt, two to three minutes. You may need to do this in batches.
When spinach is all wilted, add it to the stockpot with the onions, garlic, and broth. Now, transfer batches of the soup to a blender or Vitamix (my personal kitchen slave) and puree until smooth. (Or use an immersion blender right in the pot, if you have one, though your soup won’t be quite as smooth.) Return blended soup to stockpot and heat gently, adding more broth until soup is desired consistency. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg and stir. Ladle into warmed bowls and eat your greens!
I like to float a bit of truffle oil on top of the soup and sprinkle in some Parmesan cheese when I’m feeling especially decadent. Or when truffle oil is on crazy sale for no apparent reason at my local store, more accurately. It’s just as good as-is, though. You can thank me for introducing you to the wonder that is cooked spinach later.