Use any greens you like in this recipe — all you need adjust is the cooking time.  Spinach is done as soon as it wilts.  Swiss chard and tender beet greens cook in about 5 minutes.  Hearty, bitter kale, mustard, and turnip greens take 15-20 minutes to mellow and soften.  Collards, though milder in flavor than kale and mustard, need 20 minutes or longer in the pot.

Braised kale with shallots and bacon

Yield:  About 4 cups, serving 3-4

2 bunches kale, stemmed, chopped, washed, and drained (about 5 quarts)

3 slices center-cut bacon, chopped

2 tsp. olive oil

2 shallots, sliced

1 c. chicken stock, apple cider, or water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tsp. cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice

Drizzle a large pot or dutch oven with oil and add bacon (I find bacon cooks more evenly and renders more fat if you start it in a cold pan).  Put pot over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is brown and crispy, 8-10 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate drain.

Add shallots to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown, about 3 minutes.  Add kale and stock.  When kale is uniformly bright green and reduced in volume, turn heat down to low, cover, and cook 10 minutes.  Stir kale, season with salt and pepper, replace lid, and cook about 5 minutes more. ( Taste it — if kale is still chewy, recover and cook another 5 minutes.)  Uncover pot, raise heat to medium, add vinegar, and cook a few minutes longer, until liquid is mostly evaporated.  Taste and add more salt if necessary (greens can take quite a bit).  Stir in reserved bacon and serve.

Make it vegetarian/vegan: Omit the bacon and use 1-2 tbsp. olive oil to cook the shallots and kale.  Or replace the bacon with 1/2 c. sauteed mushrooms (from 1 heaping cup raw), use vegetable stock or water, and sherry vinegar instead of cider vinegar.

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