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kale

s
Shmingrid Dec 19, 2004 02:13 PM

Just received a big bag of kale from someone's garden. Any favorite recipes out there? How do I transform the stuff from bitter and chewy to tender and savory? I'm thinking of maybe trying a colcanon since S.O. is of Irish descent and is like a crackhead with the mashed potatoes.

  1. m
    MkeLaurie Dec 19, 2004 03:21 PM

    One great way to get rid of, I mean, use kale is to chop thinly and add to a beef stew right before serving. It wilts down much to the consistency of cooked spinach and will absorb the flavor of the broth.

    1. k
      Kirk Dec 19, 2004 03:35 PM

      Here's a variation on a Spanish dish, which works with all sorts of greens.

      Saute 2 - 3 cups roughly chopped kale with onions and garlic in a little olive oil. When the kale has wilted a bit, stir 2 cups of medium or short grain rice in with the kale mixture and toast the rice for a couple of minutes. Pour the mixture into 4 cups of boiling chicken or vegetable broth, cover and cook for 15 - 17 minutes. Let rest a couple of minutes and then fluff with a fork before serving.

      1. k
        Karl S. Dec 19, 2004 03:42 PM

        Caldo verde (literally, green soup), the Portuguese classic made with onions, potatoes, chourico or linguica sausage, and copious amounts of kale; kale stands up better in soup more than virtually any other green. Absolutely yummy this time of year.

        1. b
          babar ganesh Dec 19, 2004 05:41 PM

          two ideas:

          1) the simplest and most delicious thing to do with fresh kale is to chop it into strips, steam it (not too lightly but not too heavily either) and serve it with oil, vinegar, salt, and maybe some black pepper. this is the best way if the kale is tender and not too bitter.

          2) when i lived in kenya, the daily staple was "sukuma wiki", made of collard greens which are very similar to kale:

          in a saucepan, heat a couple tablespoons of oil and add half a diced onion; sautee until the onion softens a little. add half a diced tomato (don't add water on the cutting board) and sautee another 3 or 4 minutes until the onions are translucent and the tomato is soft but not until it loses its shape entirely. add a little bit of water. add the kale and stir. make sure there is some water on the bottom of the saucepan, and cover the pan. the aim is to first steam and then lightly stew the kale in the onion and tomato oil. check often and stir it, adding water if necessary. cook until done.

          the tomato, by the way, completely cuts the bitterness. this dish is actually very sweet.

          1. r
            Rita Dec 19, 2004 07:19 PM

            Well Kale is my favorite vegetable--believe it or not I eat it 3-4 times a week and have been for years. I usually prepare it by cutting it into fairly small pieces, briefly steaming it and putting a light dressing with olive oil. Its very sweet and delicious.

            1. b
              bacchante Dec 19, 2004 08:38 PM

              My favorite way is to parboil it and dry it off with paper towels. Saute a crushed clove of garlic in olive oil and toss it out when it turns golden brown. Put in an anchovy or 2 and heat slowly until it dissolves. Add a handful of pitted and chopped black olives, either salt cured or brine cured, and then put in the kale and saute for a couple of minutes.

              You won't really taste the anchovy as such, but it will flavor the whole dish. Even proclaimed anchovy-haters who have had it in my house like it this way.

              1. s
                Sony Dec 19, 2004 10:41 PM

                I just threw together a really quick and tasty soup using kale the other day. Sauteed a few minced garlic cloves, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 bay leaf and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes in 2 Tb. olive oil over medium-low heat until the garlic and onion slightly colored and smelled fragrant. Inc. the heat to medium and threw in 2 cut-up chicken thighs with a little salt. Cooked until the chicken was just opaque, then added in 4 cups of chopped kale, and cooked until wilted. Added 2 cups of canned white beans (navy) and about 4 cups homemade chicken stock. Simmered for a little while, then mashed up a few beans for a thicker soup. Dashed in just a little hot sauce and lemon juice at the end (the acid helped to brighten things up.)
                With the canned beans, I was careful to go easy on the salt in the rest of the soup. I would have thrown in other vegetables if I had them on hand, but as it was, this was really yummy! Enjoy that kale!

                1. d
                  desert rat Dec 20, 2004 01:03 AM

                  Kale should not be bitter if it has gone through a light freeze. This is the best time of year for kale in many parts of the country that have just gotten cold.

                  I use kale in many ways.Here's one way that's different. Cook soba noodles til they're almost done, throw in a bunch of chopped kale. Cook a minute and then drain. Add some Chinese toasted sesame oil, some toasted sesame seeds and sprinkle with soy sauce.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: desert rat
                    k
                    Karl S. Dec 20, 2004 10:09 AM

                    Yes, the essential thing with kale is that it have gone through a freeze, which reduces bitterness and enhances a very very slight sweetness. I will never forget the time a lovely neighbor gave my mother an armful of kale in early autumn, and it was the single most awful thing we ever ate because we hadn't had a good frost yet. We still talk about it 25-30 years after the fact....

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