I gather you have figured out that I’m not exactly a health nut at this point. I get about 50% of my “nutrition” from Tex Mex and chocolate chip cookies. But this is a lay-up, if you will excuse the artifact of a basket-ball reference.
Kale has been “hot” this year. I hate trends. Have you seen the way I dress? Perhaps not. Blue jeans…white t-shirts…tennis shoes…boots if I’m feeling it. What goes up must come down. What comes in must go out. I hate it when something I have liked for 20 years becomes “in” to style because I have to put it away for 5 years, lest someone think I’m attempting to be current with my choices. Imagine my horror when I heard that pie was the new black.
Anyway, kale has been quite the “in” vegetable with the food crowd this year. And I had never eaten it and I’ve been avoiding it like the plague, so now that it is 5 minutes away from going out of season, I bought some. I recently ate at our neighborhood home-style restaurant, Celebration, which makes a concerted effort to highlight seasonal vegetables and fruits, and they had a kale dish that was stupendous. I had to try to make something similar.
This is great. It is basically a cabbage cousin, and a collard green cousin. And, little did I know, it is so packed with vitamins as to almost be comical. You need to try this if you have not already. Apparently steaming is optimal for retaining the health benefits of the plant. I boiled it. Next time I will steam it. Some people cook kale into absolute submission, like collards. I actually like for it to remain slightly firm so I only boiled it for 4 to 5 minutes. You will have to make that call on your own. This is a vegetable that you should try, and if you like it, put it into heavy rotation in your kitchen. As I said, it is a lay-up, a free dummy, a gimmee.
A tip on kale, much like leeks, these leaves can hold on to dirt like nobody’s business. When you separate them, wash each leaf thoroughly. You will likely find a little river of dirt in each stem crevice.
|Kale with Bacon and Cherries|| |
- 1 bunch of kale, washed and thick stems removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ⅔ cup low sodium chicken broth
- ⅓ cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- sea salt (or kosher salt) to taste
- Cook the kale in a pot of simmering water for 4 to 5 minutes, pushing the leaves into the water with a large spoon, as necessary. Drain the kale into a colander and rinse the leaves with cold water to stop further cooking. Leave the kale in the colander to drain.
- Return the pot to the stove over medium heat. Add the olive oil, the bacon pieces, and the whole garlic cloves. Cook until the bacon is browned and crisp, and then remove the bacon and garlic to a paper towel lined plate. If the garlic is browning too quickly, use a fork to remove it before the bacon. Garlic goes from perfect to awful fairly quickly.
- Add the chicken broth to the pot. Pour it carefully into the pot because the bacon grease and hot pan will cause a lot of bubbling. Scrape all of the browned bits from the bottom and return the garlic to the pot to finish cooking, as well as the dried cherries. Cover and allow the broth to simmer with the garlic and the cherries until the garlic is softened. Add more broth, if necessary, to ensure that the pot doesn’t dry out. Your goal is to end up with about a quarter to a half cup of sauce at the bottom of the pot. Once the garlic is softened, mash it with the backside of a fork.
- Remove excess water from the kale by pressing on it gently with a paper towel. Place the kale on a chopping board and cut it up into chunks. Add the kale and the soy sauce to the pot. Stir the kale into the soy sauce and the pan sauce. Add the chopped bacon and stir it to combine. Season as needed with sea salt.
Notes: The sea salt I used in this dish has a lovely maroon pink color. It is from Hawaii. Whole Foods carries it in their bulk foods aisle.