Monday, November 12, 2012

All kale, all the time

My, oh, my do I love kale salad. And it's a good thing, too, since the bottom shelf of my fridge seems to be continuously filled with bunches and bunches of kale these days.

making massaged kale salad - 7 nov 2012making kale salad at walker jones clinic 5 - oct 2012

From a Growing Healthy Schools week cooking lesson at Cap City Charter School to an anti-obesity clinic session for seniors at Walker Jones to a healthy cooking class with kiddos at the Upper Cardozo clinic, it seems that I am not the only one who cannot get enough of this most delicious and nutritious of leafy green vegetables. (It's too bad I didn't snap a pic of the 3rd graders at Watkins Elementary clamoring for seconds on the Tuscan kale salad at the end of last week's FoodPrints class. Alas.)

I don't want you to think I am a one-trick pony, though. I can make other things with kale. Like hearty, warming kale and bean soup, which poor Kenton ate no less than 3 versions of over the course of last week as I perfected my recipe for a "Kale Three Ways" cooking workshop at the Upper Cardozo clinic. The first iteration (also taste tested by Cousin Sonia) was good with black beans and chicken sausage, but the best version turned out to be the one made with cannellini beans and cabbage and smoked ham. Oh, it's good. One of the moms who came to join us at the end of last Wednesday night's class may well have licked the pot if I hadn't been standing there next to it.

Should you find yourself with a little extra pork lying around, I'd offer this simple, inexpensive recipe. It's easy to make a double batch for a crowd, too, this holiday season....

Ham, Bean, and Kale Soup

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • ½ pound (or more) of ham steak, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cans beans (Great Northern, cannellini, navy, etc.)
  • 2 cups cabbage, finely chopped
  • 8 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups (or more) fresh kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • grated Parmesan cheese, optional


Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onions, ham, and brown sugar and sauté for about 5 minutes (until onions are tender). Add garlic and saute for a minute, until fragrant. Add one can of the rinsed beans, and use a heavy spoon or potato masher to mash the beans. (This will help thicken the broth later on. I kid you not, this makes the soup really phenomenal.)

Stir in cabbage and thyme and mix well, cooking for a few more minutes. Add broth, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes longer. Stir in the rest of the beans and the chopped kale, and simmer until the kale is bright green and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese if you like.

(Y si quiere la receta en español, la tengo....)

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