Spinach Pancakes… Veggies Hidden in Plain Sight!

One of the TV shows I watched as a kid was Popeye, so I needed no convincing to eat spinach. I actually believed the leafy vegetables had special powers.  I guess with all the recent talk about antioxidants, there was some truth to that belief.  Well, my little girl is not so easily fooled and spinach has been a tricky vegetable to get her to accept. When she was around a year old, she loved spinach and cheese omelets but when she became a picky toddler, she stopped eating spinach altogether.  I’ve had some success with mixing spinach into spaghetti sauce and store bought spinach quiche (provided it’s slathered with ketchup). I’ve also had some major flops, most recently with a macaroni and cheese Florentine.  I definitely want to widen the spinach repertoire and find something that the Little Miss can feed herself.  One of my favorite spinach dishes as a kid was spinach pancakes so I decided to give them a go, especially since I had some sour cream left from a recent enchilada dinner. When my two year old saw the pancakes, she said, “Cookie!” I wasn’t about to correct her especially if it meant a difference between her trying the pancakes and not.  Thankfully she liked them and even exclaimed, “Is gooooood!” That’s like getting a Michelin Star! 
This recipe for Spinach Pancakes comes from a book called Natural Cooking the Finnish Way by Ulla Kakonen, published in 1974 by Quadrangle. 
Ingredients:
¾ – 1 lb spinach (I used a 10 oz. box of frozen spinach)
1 cup water (for cooking the spinach)
1 egg
1 ¾ cups unbleached white flour
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp raw sugar (I use regular granulated sugar)
2 tbs melted butter or oil plus additional for frying
·         Wash the spinach leaves, put into a saucepan and cover with water. Cover the pan, bring to a boil, and simmer about 5 minutes, or until the spinach is limp. Drain the spinach and reserve the liquid. Chop Spinach fine. (If using frozen spinach, put it in a microwave safe bowl, cover with damp paper towel and thaw in microwave, about 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, break apart with a fork and add about ½ cup water. Return to microwave for 3-4 more minutes to finish cooking. Drain spinach in a sieve, pressing to extract as much liquid as you can. Reserve 1 cup of the liquid. Puree spinach in a food processor/mini chopper, using some of the reserved spinach cooking water to help puree. I used about ½ a cup.)
·         Beat the egg lightly and add the spinach cooking liquid. (Note: if you are using frozen spinach you will have less liquid to add at this stage because some was used in the puree.)
·         Beat in the flour and sour cream in turns.
·         Add salt, sugar, and melted butter or oil.
·         Stir in spinach. The dough should be nicely green.
·         In a small-ring pancake pan or a crepe pan, fry rather thick pancakes on both sides, until crisp and brown. Keep warm until serving time. (I made smallish “silver dollar” pancakes using a rounded tablespoonful of the batter per pancake. Because it’s a thick batter you need to spread it out a bit after placing it on the pan. I got 26 pancakes out of this batter.)
·         Serve as a main course, with melted butter, and cranberry or lingonberry preserves. (This is a very Finnish thing and the tartness of the cranberries or lingonberries is a nice contrast to the mild flavor of the spinach. Of course you can also serve these as a side dish with a meat or other vegetarian main course. A couple of pancakes also make a great kid’s snack.)
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This entry was posted in feeding your toddler, hidden vegetables, home cooking, picky eaters, recipe, self feeding, spinach, vegetarian. Bookmark the permalink.

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