Spinach stew (Spenótfőzelék)

Light cream, a hint of garlic, and whipped egg yolks help round out this delicious and smooth spinach stew. It pays off to make it with mature spinach, which has more flavor than the mild baby spinach. Fried, soft-boiled, or poached eggs usually go on top.

Ingredients

Yield: 4 servings; Total time: 30 minutes

  • 1 kilo (2 ¼ pounds) spinach, tough stems removed, leaves carefully cleaned of dirt by immersing them in a large bowl with two changes of cold water

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (make it 3 if you're a garlic fan)

  • 1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)

  • 2 pinches ground black pepper

  • ½ cup light cream

  • 1 bread roll, soaked in milk and squeezed dry

  • 2 egg yolks, whipped

  • Slices of crusty bread for the side

Directions

  • Step 1: Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high, then add thoroughly cleaned spinach and sauté until it has wilted and released most of its water, about 6-8 minutes (you’ll likely have to add spinach in batches as the pot initially doesn’t fit them all, but the spinach will quickly lose most of its volume).

  • Step 2: Turn off heat. Add salt, pepper, chopped garlic, soaked bread roll, and using an immersion blender, purée the stew until smooth.

  • Step 3: Immediately after this, while stew is still hot, add light cream and the whipped egg yolks and stir vigorously for 1 minute. Yolks will help thicken the stew (be sure that the heat is off else the egg yolks will start to coagulate).

  • Step 4: Taste for salt and add more if needed. Serve the spinach stew in shallow bowls with a topping of fried or soft-boiled or poached egg and crusty bread on the side.

Words of advice

Both of the two thickening methods used here — soaked bread roll and egg yolks — hark back to the halcyon days of rustic countryside cooking and you could replace them with any kind of starch or roux. But they give the dish an endearing quality and also make it taste better in my opinion.

I created these recipes with the help of nearly a dozen historical Hungarian cookbooks, adjusting ingredients, cooking times, and methods to reflect my own preferences and tastes of the current day. Do you have any feedback? Please let me know!