Photos by 
Jessicarobyn Keyser
Jessicarobyn Keyser

This Creamed Spinach Is "The Move"

by 
Robert Dean
March 23, 2021

Cooking is seriously my biggest flex, and it’s the one thing I’m overly competitive about. I can’t play video games, and as much as I love watching sports, I suck at them. I can’t throw a curveball or play a pickup game of basketball, but you want a gourmet grilled cheese? Look no further. Julia Child’s fat, bearded nephew is in the house. I’ll even use the good sourdough bread, too. 

I’ll be at some family gathering and taste someone’s food and get mad they didn’t ask me to make it because my version of that potato salad would have been fire thanks to a little hint of gochujang. I’ll always offer to take over the grill station so that I can make sure nothing is getting blackened to death, while a lesser obsessive could instead be chatting over cold Miller Lites. But for me, by all means, move it on over. Give a dude the tongs, man. 

I love when people want to come over to eat. I’ll throw on a Spotify mix of soul, doo-wop, or the oldies, and I’ll zone out. Go ahead, chat away, swallow glasses of merlot. I’ll jump into the conversation between the pan-seared ahi tuna and the roasted Brussel sprouts with a splash of balsamic. I’ll be rapping along to Ice Cube or Das-EFX without a care in the world as I’m working a pan sauce.

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Because I’m divorced now, I had to make sure my skills were death strike à la la Wu-Tang Shinobi. There are men out there holding photos of a bass, thinking this is the way to a woman’s heart. I cannot let Alex from marketing who loves Bud Light and bad country music beat me. Pre-divorce, I was a beast, but now, after being stuck inside for a year, I developed an arsenal of dishes to kick things off with a lady friend. It’s amazing how many dudes can’t cook. Or even worse, ones who eat pre-made garbage they pull out of their freezer and are like, “this is fine.” Sorry, bro. You can miss me with that Hungry Man dinner.

And women settle for this! It’s insane. I like knowing that if we’re kicking it on a Sunday afternoon, and she casually mentions, “I’d love a good cajun pasta,” I’ll have that on lock and ready to serve within hours. A woman I had a crush on mentioned that she liked spaghetti Bolognese once. I watched every cooking video on YouTube and looked at my old cookbooks, and read recipes online to make it for her with authority. I never even had it before because, generally, I’m not too fond of heavy red sauces, but I was ready to give it a go. Sadly, I never got to make it for her — cue sad trombone.

Anyhow. 

Cooking steak with creamed spinach is the home run. Unless you’re dating a vegan, well, then you’re on your own. This has dairy, bacon, and steak. No one is winning a PETA prize of compassion for this meal. Typically, I buy two New York strips and give them the treatment and then couple them with some good, crusty bread from your grocery store or favorite bakery, and the creamed spinach. The whole thing, top to bottom, can be from counter to table in 20 minutes. If you’re not getting all of the kisses after this meal, I cannot help you. 

Sexy Creamed Spinach

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Ingredients

I got the bones of this recipe from Sam the Cooking Guy, but it mutated into my spicy spin over time.

1 poblano pepper

1/2 medium white onion, minced

5 cloves of garlic

15 oz fresh baby spinach, which is 3 packages of Fifth Season spinach

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 

5 pieces of bacon, cut small 

2 tbsp butter 

Salt 

Pepper 

2 tsp cajun seasoning. I recommend Tony Chachere's.

2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 - 3/4 cup good parmesan — not the stuff in the plastic jar, kids

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Ingredients

I got the bones of this recipe from Sam the Cooking Guy, but it mutated into my spicy spin over time.

1 poblano pepper

1/2 medium white onion, minced

5 cloves of garlic

15 oz fresh baby spinach, which is 3 packages of Fifth Season spinach

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 

5 pieces of bacon, cut small 

2 tbsp butter 

Salt 

Pepper 

2 tsp cajun seasoning. I recommend Tony Chachere's.

2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 - 3/4 cup good parmesan — not the stuff in the plastic jar, kids

Ingredients

I got the bones of this recipe from Sam the Cooking Guy, but it mutated into my spicy spin over time.

1 poblano pepper

1/2 medium white onion, minced

5 cloves of garlic

15 oz fresh baby spinach, which is 3 packages of Fifth Season spinach

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 

5 pieces of bacon, cut small 

2 tbsp butter 

Salt 

Pepper 

2 tsp cajun seasoning. I recommend Tony Chachere's.

2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 - 3/4 cup good parmesan — not the stuff in the plastic jar, kids

Directions

1. In a cast iron or other high-sided pan, drop in the bacon. Get them about three-quarters of the way cooked, or so they’re whatever texture you dig. Just get them so they’re not raw. This is your party. When they’re done, remove them and set aside on paper towels.

2. Drop your poblano in there at medium heat with a little butter or avocado oil. Char both sides so it’s nice and squishy. Once you’ve done this, mince the pepper, seeds and all. 

3. Toss the onion in next and sauté until clear. Once they’ve cooked down, add the garlic. Look, I’m not in the business of telling you how to live your life, but I add like five cloves here. If you don’t want vampire-repellent breath and want to add fewer, that’s your call.

4. Add in the heavy cream and stir everything together. 

5. Ok, so this is when you’re allowed to get all artistic. Grab your good parm – ideally a nice big piece from the cheese section or some Sartori – and grate it. (If you’ve gotten good stuff already grated, that’s acceptable as well.)

How much do you want to add? I’d suggest starting with 1/2 of a cup and  maybe work into 3/4 cup after you’ve tasted it when everything’s melted down. Work all of this together. Soon everything will become creamy and luxurious. This is really about how cheesy you want it.

6. Spice time. So, this is, again, a preference thing. Here, go to taste. First, add the Tony Chachere's – this has salt already in it. So does the bacon and parm, so you won’t need to add more salt. If you don’t want to add Tony’s (weird), check the salt level in your cajun seasoning and proceed accordingly. Don’t go ape and add too much — taste as you’re cooking.

7. Add a pinch of pepper or two next, and finally, some red pepper flakes if you want this to have some mouth bang. Let this all reduce for 5-10 minutes.

8. Drop in the spinach and mix everything. At first, it’s going to seem like it’s a lot, but once the leaves heat up, they’ll shrink way down. Give this a few stirs so everything mixes in happy – just like a Bob Ross painting. This can be done in stages if your vessel is too small or too shallow for all of the greens at once – they wilt rapidly. It takes no time to add 5 oz of spinach at a time, fold in, wilt, repeat, repeat.

9. Let this cook over medium/low heat for about no more than 5 additional minutes, occasionally stirring and tasting to see if it needs a spice adjustment.

10. Once the whole thing is done, it can be laid over steak or as a side dish. Me, I love it right on top.

Note! The creamed spinach will be perfect as is, but if you prefer to thicken it up, add two tablespoons of flour to the butter/poblano/onion/garlic mixture, stir to coat, and then add the cream; OR, if we’d like to keep it gluten-free, you could add 2 tablespoons of cream cheese at the same time (very rich, but that’s the name of the game, here), stir to melt, then add cream. 

About the Author

Robert Dean

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