Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Thanksgiving Traditions: Peas with Roux & Spinach Madeline

My concept of Thanksgiving has changed a lot over the years.  My earliest and most frequent Thanksgiving memories involve a gathering of my immediate family, and my dad's side of the family in Gretna.  Thanksgiving worked like clockwork: we'd eat in the early afternoon, my brother would hog all the rolls, I would stuff myself with my grandmother's mirliton casserole, we'd watch football, wait an hour, and have dessert.  You could set your clock by it and it was a delicious and comforting time, and a cherished memory.

Thanksgiving is about spending time with family, but due to my crazy life, I've spent many Thanksgivings away from my family: college in Shreveport, abroad in Germany, working at Cracker Barrel in Texarkana, grad school in Michigan, with boyfriends and friends.  Because of this, I don't really have a consistent family tradition but I've found a way to bring my family with me wherever I go by making dishes that remind me of home.

The first (not pictured) is peas with roux.  This is a dish my grandmother has been making as long as I can remember and it reminds me of home.  It takes about 5 minutes to cook, and has been known to convert a pea hater into a pea lover, so if peas aren't your thing, give it a whirl: you may be surprised.

Peas with Roux
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tbsp dehydrated onions
1 can le sueur very young small sweet peas

Heat oil over medium for 5 minutes until almost smoking.  Add flour and stir constantly until the color of peanut butter.  Rehydrate onions and add, stir for about 30 seconds.  Add can of peas, and liquid and reduce heat to simmer.  Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes until peas have thickened.

The next recipe is spinach madeline which my mother made every year to bring to my grandmother's house.  It is cheesy, delicious, and a taste of home.  Add it to your Thanksgiving rotation and you won't be sorry.  Also, it actually tastes better if you make it the day ahead, which is a bonus for your Thanksgiving planning.

Spinach Madeline
2 packs frozen chopped spinach
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup reserved spinach liquid
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp salt (optional)
1 (6 ounce) box of velveeta cheese
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp worcestershire sauce

Cook spinach according to package directions - drain and reserve liquid.  Melt butter in sauce pan over low heat.  Add flour stirring until blended and smooth but not browned.  Add onion and cook until soft but not browned.  Add liquid slowly stirring constantly to avoid lumps.  Cook until smooth and thick.  Add seasonings and cheese and stir until melted.

Remove from heat.  Add spinach and mix well.

May be served immediately or put into a casserole dish and refrigerated over night.  Flavor improves if kept over night: may be frozen.

1 comment:

  1. Bless you and Aimee Lange for introducing spinach madeleline into my life. It has made my Thanksgiving ever since. (This year, it was awesome mixed with the mac and cheese.)