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Cream of Spinach Soup

Ok, remember a last week when I posted this spinach soup? I mentioned that it was a happy accident as I tried to make a delectable cream of spinach soup less caloric and fatty? Well, as delicious as that soup is (and it is) it does not replace the original inspiration. And no matter how much I fear the dreaded “tight pants” that inevitably come this time of year I had to make this soup. Really, I had to make it because my daughter asked for it as part of her birthday dinner and again, when the six year old requests spinach, you provide it!

She even walked into the kitchen while the onions were sweating in the butter and announced “That smells delicious. I bet it will taste even better than it smells.” Ah, I love her.

Between the times I eat this I forget just how good it is. Since it is just so outstandingly good I try to convince myself that it’s not as bad for me as it is. It is basically spinach after all! It’s got only 215 calories per serving! 6.3 grams of carbs and 6.5 grams of protein*! That’s awesome! I could eat this every day! Every meal, every day! I’d lose weight like I’m on The Biggest Loser— what’s that? How many grams of fat does it have? Ummm… hmmm…. is that really important? Alright, fine! It’s got 18.4 grams of fat per serving. Fine, spoil my fun. But, it’s sooooo goooooooood.

I think the real accomplishment here is that I followed the recipe! Because, when you are working from a recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking you don’t mess with perfection. The Mesdames Child, Bertholle, and Beck knew what they were doing and don’t need me mucking things up with my ignorant arrogance! Except… ok… I can’t help myself… it was mostly that I had trouble keeping track while I was cooking, because there was wrapping paper flying in all directions and a 2.5 year old boy wandering around wondering sadly, out loud, why there weren’t any presents for him on his sister’s birthday. It would have distracted you too! So some of my ingredient amounts were off, but it was just as good, I swear.

Potage Creme d’Epinards
[Cream of Spinach Soup]
Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 40th Anniversary Edition page 43

1/3 cup minced green onions or yellow onion (I used 1/2 of a smallish yellow onion)

3 tbsp butter (I used unsalted)

3 to 4 packed cups of fresh spinach cut into chiffonade (I used 1 pre-washed 9 oz bag of fresh spinach with the stems removed)

1/2 tsp salt (I used kosher)

3 tbsp flour

5.5 cups boiling white stock or canned chicken broth (I used 4.5 cups chicken stock)

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup whipping cream

Additional 1-2 tbsp butter (I used 1.5 tbsp unsalted butter)

Cook the onions slowly in the butter in a covered saucepan for 5-10 minutes until tender and translucent but not browned.

Stir in the spinach and salt, cover, and cook slowly for about 5 minutes or until the leaves are tender and wilted. (I forgot to cover the pot.)

Sprinkle in the flour and stir over moderate heat for 3 minutes.

Off heat, beat in the boiling stock. Simmer for 5 minutes. (I forgot to remove it from the heat.)

Blend the yolks and cream in the mixing bowl. Beat a cupful of hot soup into them by driblets. Gradually beat in the rest of the soup in a thin stream. Return soup to saucepan and stir over moderate heat for a minute or two to poach the egg yolks, but do not bring the soup to the simmer. Off heat, stir in the enrichment butter a tablespoon at a time. (I forgot to take it off the heat to put in the butter.)

(It has been said that this soup can’t be reheated because of the egg yolks and that they will scramble if you try to reheat it. I have found that it is possible to reheat it as long as I do not use a microwave. Reheat on the stovetop and keep a VERY close eye on it. Warm it over medium/low heat and take care not to let it simmer or boil. Then the yolks should be fine and you can enjoy the soup again.)

* My nutritional facts come from the calorie count recipe analysis on http://caloriecount.about.com