Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Heart Kale

Look at any list of calcium-rich foods to replace dairy in your diet, and the first one you will see is kale. But if you're like me, you have probably looked at a bunch of the dark, ruffled leaves and wondered what on earth to do with it. I worked for a catering company in high school and we used box upon box of kale to decorate buffet tables, but it never crossed my mind as an edible, let alone delicious, vegetable.

Besides being filled with all kinds of nutrients, kale has a deep, almost nutty flavor with just a hint of bitterness. It's also inexpensive and very easy to prepare. The following recipe is how I usually make it, as a side dish for meat entrĂ©es. When I served it to Isaac, my three-year-old, he said, "It's pretty good," and took another bite without any cajoling.  Last week I cooked up a large bunch and snacked on it at lunch time for the next few days.  If you've never cooked kale, I would encourage you to give it a try.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Braised Kale

1 medium bunch kale, any variety
1 shallot OR 1/2 small onion
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste

Wash kale and chop coarsely, removing tough stems.  In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add kale and continue to cook until leaves begin to wilt.  Add chicken stock.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until kale is tender, about 5-7 minutes longer.  Season with salt and pepper.

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