I didn't grown up eating Kale. In fact, I only knew of kale as those pretty little decorative plants that you grew in a flower bed. However, over the past few years, and maybe because of the popularity of Food Network, I hear of kale more and more. It actually could be because of the health benefits of kale too, that so many people are choosing to add kale to their diet.
Last night was the first time I had ever cooked kale by itself...not in soup or as an added ingredient in dishes. I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor, the color, and the texture when cooked. My husband and I both thought it reminded us of collard greens both in the way it looked and also in the flavor. I like most of my vegetables to be a little crunchy....not mushy. I don't want them to just dissolve in my mouth. When cooking kale, it reminded me of spinach because it shrinks as you cook it. So, you may start out with what looks like a lot of leaves but they wilt quickly.
This dish was simple and I have added it to my favorite veggie list! I think it would really be good to add a little kick like crushed red pepper to the dish, but my 18 month old grandson was eating with us so that was a big NO-NO. A little chow-chow or some pepper relish would be good added to it, as well....at least I think so!
This recipe came out of a Lodge Cast Iron cookbook. I absolutely love cast iron but I only have one good skillet which is what I used for this dish. Now that I think about it, this skillet came from my mother-in-law, Joy. You know, I think today I am going to change that and order some pieces. I like to watch The Pioneer Woman and she has an entire collection. Oh wow, boy have I diverted from what I was talking about. Annnnnyway.....if you have a cast iron skillet, use it for this recipe. If not, just use any skillet. I don't really like non-stick pans. I have one but I only use it for cooking eggs or pancakes. I just don't think they get things browned-up as well. But if that is what you have...by all means use it....it will definitely work!
The good thing about this dish is that it will go with just about anything....especially cornbread! It doesn't get much more Southern than that!
BRAISED KALE WITH BACON AND ONIONS
1 (16 ounce) bag of chopped Kale
5 slices of extra-thick-cut Bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 medium Onion, split lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 can of Chicken Broth, (I use Campbells)
Kosher or Fine Sea Salt and Freshly ground Black Pepper
Cook the bacon in a 10 inch cast iron skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until browned and fat is rendered, about 5-10 minutes.
Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.
Raise the heat to medium-high, and add about 1/4 cup of chicken broth and and handful of kale and toss until wilted.
Continue adding chicken broth, a little at a time, to keep a good steam going, and add more kale. Stir constantly and allowing each addition to wilt before adding more.
When all of the kale has been added and has been wilted down, add salt and pepper to taste.
It should be tender but still retain its lovely green color.