Thursday, October 15, 2009

Variations on a Theme - Kale Two Ways

Braised Kale

My love for (and addiction to) kale cannot be overstated. I yelped in joy upon opening October's issue of Bon Appetit and opening to Molly Wizenberg's Spaghetti with Braised Kale recipe. I'm happy to see the leafy green out and about, holding it's place at the table. No longer relegated to a back seat position in hippie type casseroles and rendered unrecognizable stewing away for hours upon hours in a soup pot. It takes very little for kale to reveal it's delicious flavor and nourishing quality.

My preferred method involves just a few short minutes over extremely high heat, but last night I added another version to the rotation. The Smoky Greens with Beans recipe landed in my inbox around noon yesterday. A rainy day dinner request from Daniel. With 2 bunches of deep green, stalky leaves waiting on my counter, it really was the perfect thing. A fine accompaniment to the mouth-wateringly good lamb sausages I'd bought at the Temescal Farmer's Market.

So, it's always good to have a collection of variations on a theme (wait until you see the numerous chocolate chip cookie recipes I have in store) especially since I'd be hard pressed to pick just one method and stick with it. And so, with that, I bring you two different ways to cook it. See the recipes below.

And at the going rate for kale these days (3 for $1 at the Farmer's Market!) I'll need to add even more variations. I have a feeling kale chips will be making their way out of my oven very soon. Just don't call me a hippie. Kale is way too fashionable these days.

Lamb Sausage & Smoky Greens with Beans - Photo by Daniel

Braised Kale

1 lb kale, or about 2 bunches (center ribs and stems removed, slice kale into thin ribbons)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over high heat. Add the kale once the pan is extremely hot, after the oil starts to shine. Add kale and let sit in the pan about 30 seconds before stirring or tossing with kitchen tongs. Let kale wilt and saute in the pan for about four minutes over high heat. You may want to turn the heat down just a touch. A fast and high saute ensure the kale will hold it's structure and be a bit crisp on the edges. Add garlic in the last 30 seconds of cooking. Remove and toss with lemon and salt and pepper. Serve while hot.

Smoky Greens and Beans
adapted from Bon Appetit

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 cup chicken broth (vegetable broth can be substituted)
8 cups coarsely chopped assorted greens (such as kale, mustard greens, and collard greens; about 8 ounces)
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), drained
Grated Manchego or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and saute until soft and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and paprika; stir 1 minute. Add broth and greens; bring to boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until greens are wilted and tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in beans and simmer 1 minute to heat through. Divide among bowls; sprinkle with cheese, if desired.


  1. Yay kale! I love this stuff and am very excited to eat it not all blended up in my green shakes :)

  2. Are you still doing the vegan thing? How's that going?

  3. Still vegan...and it's a wonderful thing! I haven't seen my blood sugar down this low since I was diagnosed 3 years ago. I feel like I actually have energy to do things. You really should try it at least once or twice a week (I know you like your meat and all).

    Question: I used the cup of sugar in my kombucha, but do you think the same effect could be achieved with raw honey instead of sugar?

  4. I really should try it, it would be difficult but a good challenge.

    I've heard different things about using honey. I'd have to research it more. No harm in tyring with the new scoby that forms from your first batch. I'd just keep checking to be sure the smell is right.

  5. I swear I left those scobys to grow for about 3 and 1/2 weeks. We have a broken microwave that sits on top of our stove (they came as a unit) so it became the perfect airtight place to grow them. I even forgot they were there.

    So once the tea is steeping do I put it in the fridge or leave it out again?

  6. Leave in out, as long as it's out of direct sunlight. Be sure not to add your scoby to the tea until it's come to room temp!

  7. Cool. Yeah I'm cooling it off right now before I add it...

    Thank you so much for the help!