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Jan 29, 2006 04:20 PM

Craving braised kale

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I've been dreaming about a kale side dish that I had last fall at the Harbor View Cafe in Pepin, Wisconsin (home of many culinary wonders). It was either sauteed or braised, and it was simple, rich, tangy, and just the tiniest bit bitter. The memories of this fabulous dish keep me awake at night!

So I bought a bunch of kale - the medium-dark green, very curly variety - and now I'm looking for a good recipe. I found one online at Taunton Press (see link below), but I've never cooked kale before so I don't have a feel for whether it's a good one.

Any pointers or great recipes would be gratefully received.



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  1. o

    the recipe looks o.k with one exception. if you throw in the pancetta WITH the onions, it will burn up to a crisp (literally) way before your onions are done.i would throw it in just before you add the chick stock. you could just as well use cooked bacon rather than prosciutto. this recipe sounds delicious but it is very different from how i do ours (and i cook it all the time) i love the chewy/toothsomeness of kale. i love sauteed spinach too but it doesn't have the substance of kale. anyway, here's how i do it. i do not destem it.
    slice 1 bunch of kale in 1-2" pieces, stem and all. put in salad spinner with warm water to cover, swish it around to remove any dirt.Lift spinner basket out of water,dump out the water.shake up and down - or spin- to remove a lot of the water. heat a large heavy pot wicked hot(that's a term we use in massachusetts), add a few T of extra virgin olive oil, (oil should smoke immediately) and heat til you can't hold your hand near the oil. add kale (it should make LOUD splatter; if not-the pan wasn't hot enough)and stir for a minute or so.Make a 'well' in the middle of the kale,add some minced garlic,maybe 2 tsp., stir quickly to cook without burning. stir kale around with garlic, pour maybe 1/3 cup water in pot and cover immediately(should make big noise and create alot of steam). let cook 5-7 minutes over highest heat. check to make sure it's not burning because the water all evaporated.(if you sniff and smell burning, immed add more water). when kale is cooked enough for you- should not be too tough to eat easily-, turn off heat, add kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper and freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste. (reheats well in microwave.)

    2 Replies
    1. re: opinionatedchef

      That does sound good... I love to substitute kale for cabbage in braised red cabbage (you know, red wine vinegar, caraway, honey -- the stuff you get with German food).

      1. re: opinionatedchef

        Thanks for this recipe! Your version is a better match for my style of cooking, so I made it last night for dinner. I used a mixture of water and chicken broth for the liquid, because I had a tiny bit of broth to use up, but otherwise followed your method.

        Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum! The "wicked hot" pan put a little carmelization on some of the kale leaves, which was exactly what I wanted. It was fabulous! Even my kale-ambivalent husband gobbled it up. I'll be making kale a lot from now on.


      2. m
        Marcia M.D'A.

        A recent tip from Fine Cooking (also Taunton Press) might be helpful to you. They suggest cleaning and prepping kale for cooking, and freezing in a plastic bag for four hours or up to a month. It must break down the fibers because it really reduces cooking time, and I've found it to be useful.
        Of course, you need some freezer space....

        1 Reply
        1. re: Marcia M.D'A.

          Freezer space? Ah, you haven't seen my freezer... I have these pack-rat tendancies with leftover bread and exotic sausages, not to mention the frozen cranberries and all those chicken bones I mean to make stock with.

          But I'll remember this tip for the next time I clean it.


        2. I like a little pomegranite molasses after I remove it from the heat to add a little extra flavor and balance the bitterness a touch.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Tom Hall

            Wow - that sounds really good! And I just happen to have a bottle of pomegranite molasses (left over from a spate of testing sauces for pork tenderloin).