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The Berghoff’s Famous Creamed Spinach (recipe by The Berghoff Family Cookbook)
Makes 5 cups/Serves 8

The Berghoff, a Chicago institution for 107 years, closed its doors in 2006. Their famous creamed spinach, which appeared on their menu from around 1945, was a legend and a secret until they published the recipe in their cookbook. Creamed spinach is one of those side dishes we all crave with a juicy steak, and is perfect for special occasions.

This recipe definitely looks like one adapted from a restaurant. Making less than 8 servings would be impractical because it would mean adding less than an 1/8 teaspoon of celery salt or having a leftover partial box of frozen spinach.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chicken base, or 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic (see note)
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (2 1/2 cups)
  • salt and ground white pepper, if desired
  • ground nutmeg, for garnish
  • crisp, cooked, crumbled bacon, for garnish

Ingredient note: Granulated garlic is dried granular garlic, not the same as dried minced, dried chopped, or garlic powder. It has the best flavor of all the dried garlic products, in our opinion. Some supermarkets carry it in the gourmet spice section, and it’s available from spice shops.

Preparation

In a medium size saucepan, heat the half-and-half, milk, chicken base, Tabasco, and seasonings to a simmer. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

In another medium size saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk well to combine. Cook this mixture for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often. Slowly whisk the heated milk mixture into the butter mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly until smooth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until it thickens. The sauce will be very thick.

Stir in the spinach and simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Serve while hot.

To serve: Place the hot creamed spinach in a bowl, sprinkled with an extra touch of ground nutmeg on top. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon of crisp, cooked, crumbled bacon, if desired.

Idea: For a decadent breakfast, make an omelet with leftover creamed spinach, bacon, and goat cheese.

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I discover from popular restaurants, cookbooks, food magazines (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, etc.), tv shows, friends, family, and other blogs. I also develop my own. Please contact me if there is a recipe you would like the test kitchen to review: michaelwbeyer@hotmail.com

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