Monday, March 29, 2010

Spinach Velouté

Do you play cards? I love playing cards. My husband does not, malheureusement! He therefore laughs at me when I tell him that I  am seriously considering learning how to play bridge so that I have one thing to keep my mind working and to play with other people when I grow old! (are you laughing too?)  In order to introduce cards to my children so that they can decide for themselves whether they like them or not,  I purchased a few decks of cards in France last time I was there to teach my daughter some of the games I played growing up. One very famous one is Le jeu des 7 familles which aim is to form a family by picking cards out of your partners' hands or in la pioche (the extra pile). You have thousands of versions (animals, music instruments, people, etc, etc.). It's not as dynamic as Mistigri (Old Maid) and Nain Jaune (no translation; you'd have to come and play with us).... but children love playing it. You always start by saying "dans la famille ....., je voudrais le..... (père/mère/fils/fille/grand-père/grand-mère)"... The game is so ingrained in the French culture that, even if you don't play cards (like my husband), you use some of its expressions to describe what you have in front of you. For instance, when my children are throwing a tantrum and I want to defuse the situation, I say, "dans la famille des Comédiens, je voudrais, la fille/le fils". Inevitably, they laugh and resume their tantrum immediately want to play the game again! So we create our own little world of happy families!

So, now that I bored you to death have explained to you a little bit of French card playing, here is the link with mon velouté d'épinards: " Dans la famille des légumes que nous mangeons beaucoup, je voudrais les épinards."  We eat a lot of spinach, not because we were told, growing up,  that Popeye got his muscles from eating them... but just because they are versatile in their use and very good for you (they help you keep your mind sharp to play cards!!) While I have a hard time eating a side dish of plain-steamed-spinach, I love them in quiche, mixed-in with other vegetables (tomatoes, chickpeas). I love their baby version but I can't stand purchasing baby spinach that are too thick and therefore spoil whatever salad I had planned to make with them!
The other day, I was going through the freezer and realized that I had three bags of frozen spinach waiting to be eaten! Trois paquets! (yes, I know, I should start doing like my mother who twice a year would only make recipes calling for ingredients in the freezer to give it a Spring/Fall cleaning!! )  Since it was still cold in Philadelphia (but  really because I don't need an excuse to eat soup), I decided to make a spinach soup. I had no recipe.  I just created my own and had, therefore, very low expectations on the outcome. I was already willing to throw the towel and admit that mon velouté était raté...   Mais non! Bien au contraire! Mon velouté était délicieux!  It's one of these wonderful surprises where everything seemed right: the texture, the flavor, the underlying taste of spinach powered by the curry powder. My children and husband loved it too... so trust me, it's a great easy and healthy recipe. Make it. In a few days, you  might be saying "dans la famille des Bonnes Recettes aux Epinards, je voudrais Le Velouté de Gaëlle!" (or so I wish!) Bon Appétit!

- 1 pack frozen spinach (about 14 oz or 400 gr)
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 small carrot, pealed and sliced
- 4 medium size potatoes
- 1 vegetable bouillon
- Olive Oil, salt
- Curry powder (1/4 ts) or more to taste

  • In a saucepan, over medium heat, saute the onion in olive oil.
  • Add potatoes and carrot pieces and saute for an additional 5 minutes
  • Add frozen spinach and saute
  • Add 3 cups (750 ml) water and one vegetable bouillon
  • Simmer for 20-25 minutes
  • Blend until really smooth
  • Add curry powder and stir
My Personal Comments: 
  • For this recipe, I did not use my pressure cooker. I am sure you could use it but it might not be as thick as you would like it to be.


  1. I love soups! And I always improvise with whatever veggies I have. Yesterday it was leeks/carrots/broccoli/tomatoes - un melange improbable but everyone loved it (except my eldest but he's 12). I also throw in onion and garlic just for taste and some bouillon et voilà. Easy meal. I'll try this next time. Good way to finish your frozen spinach!(not that we ever need to finish anything around here)One favorite we ate back home was cauliflower or zucchini (with Kiri).

  2. will be trying this one soon. if you lived next door to me, i'd play cards with you every night after the soup pots were clean and les enfants were tucked in.

  3. I could be wrong but that card game sounds like the Game "Go Fish." You try to form families by asking others for their cards. If they have it they give them, if not the player who was asked says Go Fish and the player who asked draws a card from the pile.

  4. We must play a round of belotte! I used to play for hours.

  5. What a nice story. I could see the little ones playing this fun game and I love the soup recipe.