From “Cross Cultural Holiday” article in the December 2017 issue.
Cheryl’s Creamy Jalapeño Spinach
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup thin-sliced oyster or button mushrooms
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- Two 14-to-15-ounce bags frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup crème fraîche
- 3/4 cup grated mild to medium cheddar cheese
- 2–3 tablespoons minced pickled jalapeño, plus 1 or more tablespoons jalapeño pickling liquid to taste
- Salt and freshly milled pepper
- 6-ounce container French’s Original Crispy Fried Onions
- Preheat oven to 375º. Butter a medium baking dish.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and celery and sauté until vegetables are very soft, 8–10 minutes. Add spinach and continue cooking until all standing liquid has evaporated from vegetable mixture. Sprinkle flour over vegetables, then cook for another couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in half-and-half and crème fraiche and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook briefly until the mixture is lightly thickened. Remove from heat and immediately stir in cheese. Add as much jalapeño and pickling liquid as you wish for zip, but keep it balanced with the other flavors. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into prepared dish.
- Scatter onions over spinach mixture. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until bubbly with onions that have darkened a shade or two. Serve warm.