Monday, January 26, 2009

Grubbin' With Fuzzy - Spinach... Stuff

When I was a wee lad, I didn't like spinach. Most kids don't at that age. It probably hadn't helped that my initial impressions were based on a block of frozen chopped spinach that had been heated up. bleh.

Then, my Dad made this. It didn't have a name, but wow, it was delicious. The truly amazing thing was that it combined several things that I simply didn't like and made them into mass of awesome (I still won't eat Swiss Cheese in anything but this).

I've recently made this twice, once for Thanksgiving, and once for a going away party for a former employee of my company.

I've given a name (tribute to Dad!), because I was tired of calling it "Spinach... stuff. With the, uh... things in it." Without further ado, here's the dish that will make you believe in the power of spinach:

** Spinach Emmett **
  • 2 Blocks Frozen Spinach, thawed
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 6 oz fresh or two 12 oz canned mushrooms (approximate)
  • 8 oz Swiss Cheese, shredded
  • Breadcrumbs, enough to cover an 8 x 11 area

1) If you're using fresh mushrooms, slice them, or chop them coarsely (large enough pieces to be positively identifiable as mushrooms and not brownish chunks of mystery foodstuffs).
2) Drain most of the water out of the spinach, but don't wring it dry.
3) Mix to combine the spinach, soup, mushrooms, and 2/3 of the cheese.
4) Spread half of mixture into a greased 8 x 11 baking dish.
5) Cover with the last of the cheese, and spread the other half of the mixture on top of that
6) Top with the breadcrumbs' this will keep it from drying out in the oven.
7) Bake at 300ish for, I dunno, about a half an hour or something.
8) Remove from oven and let it stand for a few minutes. Serves several.

Things to remember:
  • The cooktime and heat are approximate. I can't remember how long it was supposed to cook, nor the temperture, but just remember that you aren't cooking this, so much as you're warming it up enough to get the cheese melty.
  • My sister prefers the texture of whole leaf frozen spinach. I'm kinda partial to the chopped spinach.
  • It's been suggested that this could make a good spinach dip, but I've never tried it. I might add a seccond can of soup or mix in some sour cream or something to try it. Anyone that wants to give it an attempt please let me know how it turns out.
  • Over draining the spinach isn't a deal breaker, but the moisture makes the texture better. Here's a test you can do to test the spinach for the proper amount of moisture. Take a fist sized wad of it, and throw it against the wall, like you're throwing a good fastball. If it sticks to the wall, then there's too much water in it. If it bounces off the wall cleanly, then there's not enough moisture. If it hits the wall with a *splitch* and falls to the floor with a *thwup*, and leaves a nice splatter mark on the wall, then you've got it just right. I recommend you practice this technique on a fairly regular basis. If you have children, get them involved and make it a family activity.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

We used to "test" spaghetti against the kitchen wall, and Mom just about had a fit over that ... I can't imagine how altered my backside would be had I attempted the spinach technique ... the recipe sounds good, though. I'll have to try it (perhaps sans the wall test). Cheers to your dad.