Saturday, August 28, 2010

braised kale

I crave green leafy vegetables, and the dinosaur kale (lacinato kale) is one of my favourites.  It's super healthy, and becomes surprisingly chewy when you braise it. You know how fixated I am about texture and chewiness.
image from san francisco
I've always braised it, though with different stuff as the mood strikes me. Last night's was a winner. You can substitute any leafy vegetable for it, but some greens (e.g. collard greens) I find too tough, and some (the tasteless spinach you get in the US) too insipid, although chard turns out delicious too.

I know it looks like another mud fest, but trust me, it's good.

1 red onion, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 jalapeño, chopped
2 bunches of kale, sliced into 1" strips
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup of water (or stock)
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons pomegranate syrup

It's easiest to slice the kale while it is still in a bunch, and then wash it. I don't strip the stems, but I do discard about 3-4" from the end.

Something about my body chemistry must be changing because I held down the jalapeño with my left hand while chopping it, and my hand burned for almost 24 hours. This is the second time it happened. Didn't used to. So from now on, I wear my kitchen/surgical gloves when chopping hot peppers.

Saute the onion, carrots, and the jalapeño in the olive oil.
Add the kale.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the water and cook on low heat until the kale has the texture you like. For me, that's about 40 minutes.
Make sure there's a bit of braising liquid left, so you can dunk home-made bread into it.
Add the pomegranate syrup a little at a time, according to taste. I like mine quite acidic.

Remember that when any dish is eaten chilled, it needs more oomph. So if you thought that the saltiness and the tanginess was just right when you took it off the heat, you might want to recheck it after chilling it. 

You can serve the kale warm, but I had mine cold today and it was a great lunch for a hot summer's day.  Love the combination of the deep flavours of the kale with the heat of the jalapeño and the tartness from pomegranates. By the way, it's the pomegranate syrup that turns the dish a muddy brownish colour. Learn to love it.

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