Monday, May 31, 2010

The Spinach Twins

In the past couple of weeks, Porgy and I have been watching Julia Child's The French Chef DVDs that we checked out from the library. One of the episode on the 1st DVD is called Spinach Twins - where Julia Child and Simone Beck made a Frenchified Spinach, Mushroom and Ham Turnover.

Since there was no recipe on the DVD or on the PBS website and I could not find one anywhere online, I had to watch the episode a couple of time to make sure that I got the recipe down. At the end I decided to improvise a little bit since I did not want to have the cream sauce on the side and, since I dethawed both puff-pastry dough (by mistake), I doubled the ingredients and ended up with two very delicious Spinach Turnover.

2 16oz frozen chopped spinach, dethawed and drained well
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 to 1.5 cup heavy cream
2 garlic, finely minced
8 oz Crimini mushroom, quartered
8 oz ham, cubed
1.5 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 egg

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Saute the garlic and mushroom with 2 tablespoons of butter for 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
  • Saute the ham with 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 5 minutes or so. Set aside.
  • Squeeze the water out of one handful of spinach at a time. Make sure the spinach is well drained so it won't make the puff pastry soggy. Set aside.
  • Saute the chopped onion with 2 tablespoons of butter for 8-10 minutes until a little bit caramelized.
  • Lower the heat, add in the flour and milk and stir vigorously with a wire-whisk. Keep mixing until the mixture is boiling and thicken up.
  • Add in the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix well.
  • Add in the heavy cream, a little at a time while whisking until the cream sauce is not too thick. I think I used about 1 cup of heavy cream.
  • Add the grated Gruyere cheese and mix well.
  • Stir in the spinach into the cream and cheese mixture. Set aside.
  • Roll the pastry dough into 1/4-inch thick on a floured surface.
  • Glaze the dough with an egg glaze (1 egg lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water).
  • Put about 4 tablespoons of spinach mixture on half of the dough, saving 1-inch border.
  • Add a layer of the saute mushroom and ham and then top again with the spinach mixture. Smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Fold the dough over to cover the spinach, mushroom and ham. Lightly press the side to seal it and use fork tighten it.
  • Glaze the top with with the egg glaze and make a diagonal pattern using the fork.
  • Repeat the process with the 2nd pastry dough (if you decide to make two of them). However, if you don't want to cook them right away, do not glaze the top with the egg glaze. You only glaze the top just before you bake them.
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.

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