I came into my own as a Christmas cook this year. It only took me 30 years of making turkey dinners once or twice a year to find the conquering chef within, but here she is. The rolls were not burned. Everything was ready at the same time. There were no flops and a marked triumph in the creamed spinach cassarole, which had peoples’ eyeballs rolling back in their heads in ecstasy. And it was a new recipe. Everything else was tried and true.
I can’t wait to do it again.
Edited to add: Darlene requested the spinach cassarole recipe, and I’m glad she did because I want to be able to locate it again. Here is where I originally found it.
This is my holiday choice of a great veggie side dish. You can prepare it the night before and refrigerate, then cook the day of your party. If you do this, take out of refrig. 1/2hr. before baking.
Spinach Gratin – Ina Garten
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
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the flour and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Add the cream and milk and cook until thickened. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach and add the spinach to the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Transfer the spinach to a 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.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 8 servings