Sautéed Kale

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I am a big veggie lover, so I’m constantly on the lookout for new vegetables to introduce to my family. When I was at a friend’s house a few weeks ago, they served kale — I forgot how much I love it! If you’ve never had kale, it’s a hearty, bitter green (sort of like collards) that can handle some real cooking. I prepare mine with one of the titans of flavor: bacon. Even if you don’t care much for leafy greens, you might just fall in love with this dish. This is one veggie side that the whole family will love!

Click here to download the recipe sheet: Sautéed Kale

Total Time: 30 min  Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound kale, tough stems and veins removed
  • 3 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Begin by slicing the bacon into lardons (strips) and then placing them in a large, cold saute pan.

Heat the pan over medium heat to begin to render the bacon fat. Once the bacon browns (about 10-12 minutes), remove the strips to a paper towel and allow to cool.

As your bacon is rendering, turn the strips every few minutes. Now it’s time to prepare the rest of the ingredients.

To dice the garlic, lightly (but firmly!) crush the heads under the side of your knife to peal off the shell.

Once the shell is removed, give the heads a really good smash under the side of your knife.

Then roll your knife back and forth over the flesh until the whole pile is finely minced (and your fingers smell good and garlicky!).

If you’ve never used a shallot, you’re in for a treat. Shallots look like little onions, but they are sweeter and less potent (they also have a slight purple color inside).NOTE: If you can’t find shallots in your local grocery store, a sweet onion can be substituted.

I’ve explained how to dice an onion in past posts (see here), and a shallot can be diced in the same way: chop the top end off (seen above) and then cut the shallot in half through the root.

The shell will peel off easily and allow you to dice both halves separately.

Set the garlic and shallots aside. Clean your kale and chop the large pieces into something manageable. A half-pound of kale will seem like quite a lot, but like any other green, it cooks down so the finished product will seem to be much less.

At this point, your bacon should be golden brown and ready to remove from the fat. A slotted spoon is the perfect tool for this job — just be sure to save the bacon fat!!

Once the bacon has been removed, pour out all but 2-3 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the bacon fat and allow it to melt.

Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and shallots to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until then are soft and begin to turn a very light golden color. You do not want the garlic and shallots to burn!

Add the chopped kale to the pan and toss it into the bacon and butter mixture. Be careful as you toss — there won’t be much room in the pan.

Add the chicken stock and cover the pan. Allow the greens to cook for 5-6 minutes, tossing once or twice as they cook.

Once you’re satisfied with their tenderness (try a piece!), add salt and pepper and lemon juice to taste. Do not be afraid to salt liberally. Kale can be a bit bitter, but that bitterness is easily balanced with some extra salt.

Remove the kale from the pan and top it with the bacon. Serve it hot and enjoy!

Click here to download the recipe sheet: Sautéed Kale

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