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In 1965 a woman named, Ruth, bought a steak house. Ruth was sued by the previous owner when she opened her second restaurant which led her to change the name to what we now know today as the “Ruth Chris Steak House.” The name might not be so easy to pronounce, but the food speaks for itself.
What makes this recipe so great is that gives you a spicy kick with a Louisiana zing from the sprinkle of cayenne you’ll use to finish it off. The best part of all is that it only takes 10 minutes to get this right.
Follow our instructions below for one mouth-watering creamed spinach.
Parmesan Creamed Spinach (Ruth’s Chris Creamed Spinach copycat recipe)
It is currently week two of San Diego Restaurant week. During week one, we had dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Del Mar and were served an amazing creamed spinach casserole as a side dish, and I thought this would be a great new way to prepare spinach – something different from the spinach sauteed with garlic and olive oil that I normally do.
I found a few recipes online for Ruth’s Chris Creamed Spinach – however, I felt that there were a few strange ingredients listed (like cloves?) and not enough other seasonings to give a good flavor. I’ve had the dish at Ruth’s Chris… and looking at the bland ingredients… it just didn’t seem right. (I’m sure the actual recipe is secret, so there must be a few things they are leaving out). I tweaked the recipe a bit and added Parmesan cheese and nutmeg to increase the flavor. I also prefer to use unsalted butter – it’s much easier to add salt if needed than potentially start with too much salt.
As it stands, this parmesan creamed spinach makes a wonderful accompaniment to a prime rib roast or steak dinner. The best part about this dish is that it can be prepared ahead of time and reheated just before serving – which makes it a perfect choice for dinner parties or holiday dinners. Enjoy!
Parmesan Creamed Spinach:
- 1 lb. baby spinach
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (& extra for sprinkling)
- 1/4 c. flour
- 2 c. milk
- 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1. Microwave the spinach in a large bowl for 4-5 minutes.
2. Allow to cool, squeeze out the water, and roughly chop.
3. In a large saute pan (or use a wok, like I did here… hee hee!), melt the butter.
4. Add the chopped shallot, bay leaf, salt, and nutmeg. Saute the shallot over medium heat for about 2 minutes (when the shallot becomes translucent).
5. Stir in the flour to create a roux, and cook for about 1 minute until the mixture is uniform with no lumps.
6. Slowly add the milk, while stirring to incorporate the roux.
7. Cook and stir the milk mixture to a gentle boil and the mixture thickens.
8. Remove the bay leaf. Turn off the heat, and stir in 3/4 c. Parmesan cheese. (Reserve 1/4 cup Parmesan for the topping.)
9. Stir in the chopped spinach, and mix together until combined well. Pour the mixture into a large casserole dish, and top with the remaining 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of extra nutmeg (optional). Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
10. You can store this in the refrigerator (covered) for up to a day in advance at this point. Otherwise, you can bake immediately.
11. To heat, bring the casserole to room temperature first, then bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you plan to bake this immediately (instead of refrigerating overnight), then it will be done after 10-15 minutes in the oven.
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If you love the steakhouse creamed spinach from the old-school city restaurants (Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky, The Palm) or the chains (Ruth’s Chris, Outback, LongHorn, Texas Roadhouse), here’s how to make it at home, quickly and easily. Don’t miss it.
Why we love this recipe
As a child of 1980s America, I never outgrew my deep love for this classic side dish. I met this dream come true at New Jersey’s Charlie Brown’s steakhouse, dallied with it at the Pennsylvania Dutch all-you-can-eat buffet Miller’s, and then got fancy at ordered it in NYC at Peter Luger’s, The Palm, and the original Smith & Wollensky.
This American classic is easy to make at home. Our recipe is:
- Just like the original
- Without unnecessary heaviness (but you’re welcome to adjust if you like!)
- Ready in 30 minutes
- Make-ahead friendly
Whether you’re cooking for the family or want to impress at a dinner party, sometimes the best food is really well-executed comfort food. When that’s the vibe you’re after, it doesn’t get better than this.
What you’ll need
Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.
- Frozen chopped spinach is your best bet for this recipe, but you can use fresh spinach if you insist. Find the details below.
- Cut the onion really small — more of a mince than a dice.
- Butter, flour, and whole milk create the creamy béchamel sauce that’s this recipe’s signature. You can stir in a big splash of heavy cream if you want to make it richer.
How to make it
Here’s what you’ll do to make a great batch of steakhouse creamed spinach. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.
- First you’ll cook the spinach according to packaged directions. I like to do this in the microwave, since it’s easy and the results are good. The next step is very important: When it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze out and discard all the liquid that you can. Then you’ll sauté the onions and garlic in the butter. When they’re softened, add the flour and stir constantly, cooking for a minute or two.
- Pour in the milk and stir very well to incorporate the flour into the liquid. Add the seasonings, bring to a boil, and then simmer for five minutes until you have a silky sauce.
- Add the spinach and parmesan.
- Stir really well, cooking for a minute or two to warm through. That’s it!
Expert tips and FAQs
Why use frozen spinach for steakhouse creamed spinach? Can I use fresh?
Chopped frozen spinach is the ideal ingredient for this recipe for a few reasons. It’s already got the density that you’re looking for, it’s easy, and it tends to be a lot more affordable than its fresh counterpart. I’d recommend saving the fresh spinach for the many places where it really shines, like a gorgeous salad or a fabulous quick-cooking curry.
If using chopped frozen spinach, all you need to do is cook it in the microwave (or on the stovetop, if you must) according to package directions, let it cool enough to handle, and then squeeze out and discard all the liquid.
If you want to use fresh spinach in this recipe, you’ll need to do some prep. You can use either baby or mature spinach. Either way, chop it well. You can include the tender parts of any stems. Then cook it in boiling, salted water until tender. For baby spinach, this will only take a minute. For mature leaves, give it two to three minutes and then test it, since they vary widely.
When cool enough to handle, carefully wring out all the moisture that you can. This is harder when working with fresh spinach, but equally important. Proceed with the recipe as directed.
Can I make this recipe in advance?
You can, which makes it even more amenable for casual dinner parties. Complete the recipe anytime on the day you want to serve it, and transfer it to a microwave-safe serving container with a lid. (Good old-fashioned Corningware is the perfect tool for the job, both functionally and aesthetically.) Shortly before serving, microwave it on half power until heated through.
Leftovers keep well, tightly sealed in the fridge for up to a week and can be reheated the same way.
How do I make it richer?
It’s easy to increase the richness of this dish if you really want to go for it. You can replace some of the milk with heavy cream or make the recipe as directed and then stir in ½ cup of warmed heavy cream before serving.