Old-fashioned Spinach Soup

bowl of spinach soup

I have warm memories of Popeye the Sailor Man eating spinach to grow strong. Spinach is chockful of nutrients, and is an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and vitamin C, as well as being one of the best sources of plant-based iron. What’s not to like?

As a result, I’m always on the lookout for good spinach recipes. So when I came across a hundred-year-old for Spinach Soup, I decided to give it a try.

The creamy Spinach Soup was delicious with a slight peppery undertone which added interest.

Here’s the original recipe:

Spinach Soup Recipe
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (Revised Edition, 1921)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Spinach Soup

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 quarts spinach (I used a 10 ounce package of spinach.)

6 cups water

1/2 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

1 clove garlic or 2 tablespoons chopped onion (I used the chopped onion.)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 cup cream, if desired

Put spinach and water into a large pan, and bring to a boil using high heat; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Removed from heat, and puree or press through a sieve. (I used a Foley mill.)

In the meantime, put milk, garlic or onion, and bay leaf in a saucepan. Using medium heat, scald the milk, while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and strain. (Discard the garlic or onion and bay leaf.)

Put butter in large pan or dutch oven. Melt using low heat; then stir in the flour. Slowly add scalded milk while stirring constantly. Then stir in the spinach mixture, salt, cayenne pepper, and celery salt. Heat until steamy, then serve.

If desired whip the cream, and put a dollop of the whipped cream on top of each bowl of soup.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

 

Old-fashioned Spinach with Gravy

Spinach with Gravy in Bowl

I’m always looking for new ways to use vegetables, so when I saw an easy-to-make recipe for Spinach with Gravy in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I decided to give it a try.

The recipe turned out well. The gravy enhanced the flavor of the spinach, and was quite tasty. I served it as a stand-alone side dish – though I think that Spinach with Gravy would also be delightful on toast.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for spinach with gravy
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries (1920)

The directions in the old recipe for the gravy are a little confusing. The recipe calls for meat gravy, which I would assume already contained some flour or other thickener, yet it also indicates that 1 teaspoon flour should be stirred into 2 tablespoons of melted butter – and then the gravy should be added. This suggests that the recipe author thought that the gravy needed to be thicker than the typical gravy – though 1 teaspoon of flour isn’t much, so why bother?

I used the second option (which is described in the text beneath the ingredient list), and used bouillion cubes when I made the gravy. It worked fine.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Spinach with Gravy

  • Servings: 3 - 5
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 quarts (1 8-ounce bag) spinach

Gravy – Option 1

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon flour

1 1/2 meat gravy

Gravy – Option 2

2 bouillion cubes (I used beef bouillion cubes.)

1 1/2 cups boiling water

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

Wash spinach and cut into small pieces. Put in a pan, and using medium heat cook until tender (3-5 minutes). The water clinging to the spinach may provide sufficient liquid for cooking the spinach; if not, add a small amount of water.

In the meantime, make gravy.

Gravy: Option 1: In the meantime, in another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour. Gradually, add gravy while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the gravy is hot and bubbly. Remove from heat, and add the cooked spinach. Stir to combine.

Gravy Option 2: Dissolve the bouillion cubes in the boiling water to make a broth. In a pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour. Gradually, add the broth while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the gravy is hot and bubbly. Remove from heat, and add the cooked spinach. Stir to combine.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-Fashioned Eggs with Spinach and Cheese

Eggs, cheese and spinach in ramekin with toast on plate

Preparing eggs in the basic ways can get boring, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Eggs with Spinach and Cheese. Each egg is served in an individual ramekin which makes an easy to serve, lovely presentation that can turn any breakfast into a special meal. The eggs are embedded between layers of creamed spinach and cheese.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for eggs with spinach and cheese
Source: Balanced Daily Diet by Janet McKenzie Hill (1920)

I’m not sure what a “very moderate” oven meant in 1920, but I interpreted it to mean 350° F. Maybe it actually was higher. The 5-8 minutes baking time called for in the original recipe was not nearly long enough to set the eggs. It took about 15 minutes for them to set.

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Eggs with Spinach and Cheese

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
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5 ounces (5 cups) of fresh baby spinach (approximately 1/2 cup cooked spinach)

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar.)

3 eggs

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350° F. Wash spinach and put in a sauce pan. There should be some water clinging to the spinach. Using medium heat, cook until the spinach has wilted down (about 2 minutes) while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the meantime, in another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Gradually, add milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens. Remove from heat, and add the cooked spinach. Stir to combine.

Put 1/6 of the spinach and white sauce mixture in each of 3 small ramekins; then sprinkle with 1/6 of the shredded cheese. Then break an egg into each of the ramekins. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Put 1/6 of the spinach and cream sauce mixture on top of each egg; then sprinkle with 1/6 of the shredded cheese on top of it.

Put in oven and cook for 15 – 18 minutes, or until the eggs are set.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-time Spinach Omelet Recipe

I recently saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Spinach Omelet, and decided to give it a try. A homemade omelet makes breakfast special.

Often omelets are a little greasy and heavy, but Spinach Omelet is light and fluffy. The recipe calls for beating egg whites into stiff peaks, and then folding the remainder of the ingredients into them.  This omelet has a delicate spinach flavor – and is less savory than the typical modern omelet that also contains onions, bacon, or cheese – but is delightful.

Here is the hundred-year-old recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (June, 1917)

And here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Spinach Omelet

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup cooked spinach (approximately 4 cups fresh spinach)

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1/3 teaspoon salt

dash of pepper

1/2 cup cream (I used half and half.)

4 eggs, separated

If using fresh spinach, rinse the spinach and put into a sauce pan. Do not add any additional water; the water clinging to the spinach leaves will be enough. Using medium heat, cook until the spinach is wilted (approximately 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Cool slightly, then coarsely  chop cooked spinach; set aside.

Using medium-low heat, melt the butter in a sauce pan; then stir in the flour, salt,  and pepper. While continuing to stir constantly, slowly add the cream. Increase heat to medium, and stir until the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat.  Beat egg yolks, then quickly stir into the white sauce.  Add cooked spinach, and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. (Be sure that the beaters are clean and dry – otherwise the egg whites might not stiffen and form peaks.) Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Then cook omelet either on the stove top or in the oven.

Stove top method: Pour into a prepared omelet pan. (If needed grease to prevent sticking.) Cover and cook using low heat for about 12 minutes or until the is set. Fold omelet, and slip onto a plate. Serve immediately.

Oven method:  Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Heat a large oven-proof skillet on the top of the stove using medium-low heat. (If needed to prevent sticking, liberally grease the skillet before heating.) Pour the egg and  spinach mixture into the hot skillet, and gently cook for 1 minute. Move the skillet to the oven, and bake for about 12 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. Remove from oven, and loosen the edges of the omelet from the skillet with a knife or spatula, then turn onto a plate; fold into half. Serve immediately.

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German Spinach Recipe

German spinach 2

As the seasons transition from winter to spring, the foods are ever evolving. Spinach, green onions, and eggs are wonderful quintessential Spring foods. I was thrilled to find a recipe for German Spinach in the April, 1916 issue of Good Housekeeping that calls for all three. The spinach and green onions, combined with bacon and a lovely chopped egg garnish, creates a stunning seasonal dish.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

German Spinach

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 quarts baby spinach (1 10-ounce package)

2 bunches (approximately 20) green onions (scallions)

4 slices bacon, chopped

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon fine breadcrumbs

dash of nutmeg

1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

Wash spinach, then put into a large saucepan with just the water that is clinging to the leaves. Using medium heat, cook spinach until wilted while stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, chop the white and green parts of the green onions.  Put the bacon in a skillet and using medium heat, cook the bacon for several minutes. Add green onions, and continue frying until the green onions are wilted. Stir in the flour, bread crumbs, and nutmeg; then add the cooked spinach.

Put into serving dish and garnish with the egg. If desired, sprinkle a little nutmeg on top.

Here’s the original recipe:

German Spinach GH 4 1916
Good Housekeeping (April, 1916)

The old recipe called for adding water to the spinach and bacon mixture, then cooking until the water is “boiled up.” When I made this recipoe, I didn’t add any additional water since it didn’t seem needed. Without the added water, the dish was ready to put in a serving bowl as soon as the bacon mixture and the spinach were combined.