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Kale with Bacon and Cherries

Recipe: Kale with Bacon and Cherries

Summary: Kale simmered with garlic and dried cherries topped with bacon and a splash of soy sauce.

Ingredients

  1. 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

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rinsed kale to the water and allow it to simmer 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 them from cooking further. Allow them to stay 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 remove the bacon and garlic to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. 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. You can free-hand pour. This is not a precision dish. Pour it carefully into the pot because the bacon grease and hot pan will cause a lot of bubbling and sputtering. Scrape all of the lovely browned bits from the bottom and return the garlic to the pot. Also add 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, so the pot doesn’t totally 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, remove it to a small bowl and mash it with the backside of a fork. Then return it to the pot. Give the kale a squeeze to remove most of the excess water. Place the kale on a chopping board and cut is up into larger bite size chunks. Add the kale to the pot. Also, add the soy sauce. Stir the soy sauce and the pan sauce into the kale. Add the chopped bacon and stir it to combine. Season as needed with sea salt. Remember that the soy is very salty and the kale might not need much additional seasoning.

Variations

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.

Cooking time (duration): 30 min

Number of servings (yield): 3

Meal type: dinner

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

15 min
30 min
Kelly Yandell

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.

Preparation: (2 to 3 servings)
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

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rinsed kale to the water and allow it to simmer 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 them from cooking further. Allow them to stay 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 with a slotted spoon 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. You can free-hand pour. This is not a precision dish. Pour it carefully into the pot because the bacon grease and hot pan will cause a lot of bubbling and sputtering. Scrape all of the lovely browned bits from the bottom and return the garlic to the pot. Also add 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, so 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, remove it to a small bowl and mash it with the backside of a fork. Then return it to the pot.

Give the kale a squeeze to remove most of the excess water. Place the kale on a chopping board and cut it up into chunks. Add the kale to the pot. Also, add the soy sauce. 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. Remember that the soy is very salty and the kale might not need much additional seasoning.

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.

Also, I used about 100 cliches in this post. I’m just in that sort of a mood. Apologies to my college rhetoric teacher.

Enjoy!

 

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11 comments to Kale with Bacon and Cherries

  • Charlene

    This sounds good and I just bought a 4-lb. bag of dried cherries from Amazon. (WHAT was I thinking???) Anyway, I don’t blanche or steam kale before sauteing and it is delicious. I just wish I had grown some this fall.

  • Karen Mertens

    I discovered kale from an International student from Zambia. I like it. Olive Garden has a great soup, zuppa toscana, that has kale in it. When I try to duplicate the soup I add more kale than OG so I can feel there is something healthy happening in the cream based soup. I also find that Oreo, the pet rabbit, has a great appreciation for kale.

  • Kathy

    Bought Toscano kale at the Coppell Farmer’s Market last Saturday. Made your recipe, but without the soy sauce and substituting cherry-essence dried cranberries. Yummy!

  • Kelly

    Hi Rhonda! I’m glad you found me. Let me know how you like the kale if you try it. You will not be disappointed in the brisket either. It is a consistent winner. Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you return often.

  • Rhonda

    Can’t believe it took me this long to come across your blog! And can’t wait to try the kale dish; me too, never tried it, felt a little intimidated I think. Now. I know something to do with it . . . and it sounds so good! Love your entire site. (I generally cook for one – so, of course, I started with your CrockPot brisket, cooking right now :-) guess I’ll feed the office gang on Monday.)

  • Looks yummy to me! Such a unique combination I love dried cherries and anything with bacon – can’t wait to try this one! If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, try their Applewood Smoked Bacon – deeeeeeelicious!

  • Val

    We have some lovely kale at the store right now, can’t wait to try this. I love kale.

  • What do you know?! I just bought some fresh baby kale this morning from Signora Rita who sells veggies out of her garden. We’ll have this dish tomorrow evening. Welcome to the healthy side of eating, Kelly.

  • [...] obsession with kale, but I think I’ll be one of its best long term fans. Do you remember the kale with bacon and dried cherries I did a while back? That was delicious. This is different, though. I didn’t know that you could [...]

  • [...] and they are truly bountiful at the markets right now, you might like to peruse my recipes for kale, collard greens, and spinach. Mustard greens have a very distinct flavor. Tart is not the right [...]

  • [...] that recipe from Kelly Yandell’s blog, The Meaning of Pie: http://www.themeaningofpie.com/2011/03/kale-with-bacon-and-cherries/ Kelly’s writing is almost as good as her recipes. I gather you have figured out that I’m [...]

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