Celebration kale: Side dishes for Thanksgiving | Kitchen to Kitchen

Sidonie Maroon
Posted 11/19/20

In Scotland, “Come to kail” was an invitation to dinner, because people ate kale so frequently. 

Here it reigns king of our winter greens, but needs P.R. at the table. Kale has …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Celebration kale: Side dishes for Thanksgiving | Kitchen to Kitchen

Want something not only nutritious but full of flavor? Kale yes! Try this dish: “Celebration Spiced Kale with Dried Cherries and Pecans.”
Want something not only nutritious but full of flavor? Kale yes! Try this dish: “Celebration Spiced Kale with Dried Cherries and Pecans.”
Photo courtesy of Sidonie Maroon
Posted

In Scotland, “Come to kail” was an invitation to dinner, because people ate kale so frequently. 

Here it reigns king of our winter greens, but needs P.R. at the table. Kale has potential as a local kitchen mainstay. If only we liked it more. 

Planted in late summer for the fall garden, it sweetens as temperatures dip. It’s easy to grow and continues to give into spring with leaves and kale rabe (the unopened florets, like broccoli, before its yellow flowers bloom). 

Kale is versatile, adding nutrition, texture and flavor to soups, casseroles and sides. We can braise, sauté, bake or blanch and it tastes delicious. 

Yet, I’m frequently asked how to prepare kale so the unenthused will give it a chance. 

Living on the Eaglemount, I gauged my grocery trips in early spring by how much kale I could harvest. My family tolerated it, but I heard complaints, and this was before the raw kale craze. I didn’t grow up eating kale, so it took experimentation and perseverance to make it a family favorite. 

Now, kale is near the top of my vegetable list. I grow several varieties and frequently add it to meals. 

My kale game changed when I learned to chiffonade. I’m not a raw kale lover, nor do I like sizable pieces of unwieldy leaves on my plate. Kale, unless broken down, reminds me of seaweed fronds. Yet, I love its umami flavor, so reducing the size of the leaves was a key strategy in my kale campaign.   

KALE TECHNIQUES

Chiffonade (shee-fohn-aid) 

In French cuisine, describes leaf vegetables, laid flat, rolled lengthwise into a log, and sliced into thin ribbons. (I create smaller pieces by chopping the ribbons crosswise.)

SAUTE AND STEAM

Chiffonade the greens. Then sauté them in a skillet, over a medium-high heat, until they soften 3-4 minutes. Add about ½ cup of liquid and turn the heat down to a low simmer. Cover with a lid and allow them to steam until they’re as tender as you prefer.  

WHAT TO DO WITH STEMS

Hard kale stems are fibrous and unpalatable. I cut the stems off, below the leaves, while holding the bunch. For flat-leaved collards, I slice the stems from the individual leaves. If you are harvesting young leaves from the garden, the stems are tender, chop and added to the sauté.        

BEST KALE TYPES 

Tuscan, also known as lacinato or dinosaur kale, has long primeval green leaves and full flavor. It has an affinity for rich foods such as olive oil, bacon, and cheeses. It works well with starches like polenta, buckwheat pasta, barley and simmered beans. Try it seasoned with ingredients like smoked chilies, anchovies, garlic, citrus rind, fennel or cumin seeds.  

Russian Red is also called Siberian kale. Its silvery green or blue-gray leaves have bold reddish stalks and veins. The Russian kales are in good company with grilled sausages, poached eggs, braised turkey or combined with dried fruits and nuts.   

Curly kale has frilly leaves and has a rounded sweetness when properly cooked. It works well with potatoes or added to savory pies. Try it with mixed in casseroles with cottage cheese or ricotta.

Celebration Spiced Kale with Dried Cherries and Pecans 

Serves 4 as a side dish 

45 minutes preparation and cooking time

Nothing ho hum here! Tender kale with holiday spices, onions, ginger and garlic; sweet and sour hits of apple and pie cherries — this side dish makes the perfect counterpoint for turkey, potatoes, winter squash, or sweet potatoes.  

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup olive oil, (unsalted butter, ghee, or sustainable red palm oil are suitable substitutes)    

1 large yellow onion, cut into a medium dice

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced

⅓ cup dried pie cherries, (or use dried cranberries)  

1 medium baking apple, unpeeled, cut into a medium dice

1 bunch Russian red, curly or collards, remove stems, chiffonade and then chop across the thin ribbons into smaller pieces

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 

½ cup water 

1 tablespoon maple syrup 

1 cup toasted pecans, chopped 

SPICES

¼ teaspoon whole cardamom seeds, release from pods

¼ teaspoon whole allspice berries

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 star anise pod

¼ teaspoon peppercorns

¼ teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns (optional) 

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

DIRECTIONS 

Assemble and prep all ingredients. Using a spice or coffee grinder, grind whole spices and salt together into a coarse powder. Toast and chop pecans and set aside. 

Preheat a large sauté pan with oil on a medium heat. Adjust heat if needed. Add chopped onions and sauté for
10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes. Add the dried cherries, ground spices, salt and apple and continue to sauté for another 7 to 8 minutes. 

Add the chopped kale and fold in. Sauté for several minutes. Add the apple cider vinegar to the water and pour into the sauté pan. Cover with a lid, turn to a simmer for 5 minutes or until the kale has softened. Take the lid off, return the heat to medium high and cook off the remaining liquid. 

Stir in the maple syrup. Taste. It will take several minutes for the flavors to settle. 

Place in a serving bowl and garnish with pecans. Serve warm. You could cook this dish ahead and reheat.

(Sidonie Maroon, abluedotkitchen.com, is culinary educator for The Food Co-op. Kitchen to Kitchen is sponsored by The Food Co-op.)

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment