Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Braised Kale with Tomato

A few years ago I was shopping at the US 1 Caribbean Market and saw this woman stuffing huge bunches of kale into bags, filling her cart. At the time I had just finished the arduous process of collecting recipes for the New Haven Cooks cookbook and had been asking people across the city for their favorite recipes featuring vegetables and fruits. It was shocking how many people sent me a chicken recipe, dip, or fried seafood recipe with not a thought to vegetables, no less one in the ingredient list. So the site of a woman joyfully filling her cart with the largest bunches of kale I had ever seen made my heart race a bit, and I just had to know what she was planning to do with them.

She may have thought I was a little crazy, nosing around in her shopping cart, but she smiled and told me that she cooks her kale with lots of onion, garlic, tomato and a little hot pepper. I didn't get much more detail than that. I'd bet if I'd gotten to stand next to her at the stove, there might have been some other key ingredient like allspice berries, smokey paprika, or vinegar....I guess I'll never know, but she inspired me to start cooking my greens with tomato, and the rest I leave up to my imagination...

This is a great dish for fall and winter. You can use any type of kale, or even collard greens.

Braised Kale with Tomato
1 large bunch kale 
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 -15oz can diced tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 small hot pepper, seeds removed or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper - to taste

Optional ingredients: allspice berries, smokey paprika or ground chipotle, vinegar.

1. Wash Kale. Slice kale into 1/2inch strips. discard thick part of stem at the bottom of the bunch. Cut across the strips a few times to shorten the pieces. 

2. Cut the onion into a small dice or fine julienne, sauté in olive oil with salt and pepper over medium heat until translucent. Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan. Add hot pepper or spices if using, sauté until fragrant, do not allow garlic to brown. 

3. Add diced tomato to the pan, bring to a simmer. If using vinegar, add it now. Taste broth and adjust seasoning. Add kale and stir to coat. Cover pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Check kale for tenderness and adjust seasoning.

I generally cook my greens for a short time to retain as much of their nutrients as possible. Taste the greens after 5 minutes to determine if you like them this way or want to cook them a little longer.

How do you like to cook kale?
Please share below!

1 comment:

  1. this looks great! looking forward to trying it - just used up the last of our garden kale (having harvested it from under the tree that fell on it) but can get good kale throughout the winter.

    we have gotten really into "kale chips" (baked until crispy), but this is our go-to recipe: