Alright, alright, I finally did it. I made kale chips. But only because everyone else in the food blog world has already made them and raved about them. Well, and because I love kale and it seemed stupid to pass up a potentially fabulous way of cooking it. This post over on Use Real Butter was the last straw as far as I was concerned (her kale photos are gorgeous), so when I picked up a bunch of kale for a pot of soup, I saved out a bowlful of leaves to roast into chips to go with my sandwich at lunch.
It was, I have to admit, very good. The leaves lost all chewiness and became, instead, ethereally crisp and delicate, dissolving on the tongue with a slight crackle. I ate something like half a bunch of kale all by myself without hardly noticing. I intend to make these chips again very soon, perhaps with a bit of cumin sprinkled over, or a little dipping sauce of garlicky yogurt. And need I point out that these would be really fun to serve with drinks?
Note: There are recipes for this all over the internet. I made the Use Real Butter version, but Deb has a good-looking one over at Smitten Kitchen – as well as a great serving suggestion. Kale popcorn? Yes, indeed.
This Portuguese-style soup has been one of our go-to dinners for years, and was one of the first soups I ever made that really worked. The original recipe was from the dearly departed magazine Kitchen Gardener, and while I occasionally muck around with different ingredients (white beans are particularly good), I always come back to the basic formula: kale, sausage, tomatoes, and garlic. And it’s not just delicious – it’s stuffed full of vitamins, and low-carb to boot. Whenever I make it we wonder why we don’t have it more often.
Kale-Sausage Soup (an approximate recipe)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 carrots, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1 large bunch curly kale, cleaned, stemmed and roughly torn or chopped
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 lb hot Italian sausages (if your sausages aren’t spicy, I’d suggest adding red pepper flakes to the carrots and garlic)
- salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and saute the carrots and garlic until sizzling and beginning to turn golden. Add the kale and a good pinch of salt and stir well until it wilts. Add the stock and tomatoes, bring it to simmer, cover and cook about 20 minutes on low heat, or until the kale is limp but still green.
In the meantime, cook the sausages in a covered pan with a little water, then fry them in their own fat until they brown nicely. Slice them into rounds.
When the kale is tender, slip the sausage into the pot, stir it up, and taste the broth for salt. Grind in plenty of fresh black pepper and turn off the heat.
The New Year’s cassoulet turned out to be a bit of a bear as a leftover. The lovely crust disappeared, and the beans soaked up any remaining broth and became rather dry. It still tasted great, but it definitely wasn’t as much fun to eat as when it was fresh.
What to do? Make a soup! I figured the beans wanted more liquid, plus some vegetable to make them less dense and rich. Continue reading
We got a lovely bunch of Tuscan kale at the market last weekend – the first we’ve seen in some time. We love kale and eat it all sorts of ways, but my very favorite thing to do with it is to braise it in the cooking liquid from a pot of white beans. The recipe is from a Paula Wolfert cookbook called Mediterranean Grains and Greens, and it is pure genius – the bean liquid, flavored with garlic and bay, gets absorbed by the greens and also reduces to a thick sweet glaze that enhances the sweetness of the kale. The beans and greens are served together, and are particularly good alongside lamb chops or steaks, with a nice earthy red Italian or French country wine.