Braised Lacinato Kale

This recipe courtesy of The Farm to Table Cookbook by Ivy Manning

Lacinato kale has dark green, almost black leaves with a crinkled texture (it's sometimes called dinosaur kale for its reptilian appearance) and a deep, satisfying flavor similar to chard.  This recipe works well with turnip, collard, and beet greens as well; adjust the amount of liquid you add and the time you steam-cook the greens, which depends on the tenderness of the leaves.  Collards can take as long as 20 minutes to steam; beet greens are done in about 3 minutes.

When raw, greens look like mountain of food, but they wilt considerably when heat is applied.  In this recipe I call for two bunches of kale for four people as a side dish, but I can eat one bunch all by myself, especially if it's poured over warm cornbread.  The recipe can be made vegetarian by omitting the bacon; saute kale in 1 tablespoon of olive oil instead.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches lacinato kale
  • 1 slice thick-cut bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 1 generous pinch sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the kale well and tear the leaves from the tough rib that runs up the center of each leaf.  Tear the leaves into 2-inch pieces and place in colander.
  2. Cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until crisp;  with a slotted spoon, transfer it to a small bowl, leaving bacon fat in the pan.
  3. Put the leaves with water still clinging to them in the pan; stir with tongs to wilt them.  Add the vinegar, stock, and sugar.  Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the leaves are tender, about 10 minutes.   Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle the bacon over the top, and serve.

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