Oh The Mighty Kale. Everyone’s lovin’ it. And it’s everywhere. And it’s not always so tasty. I can certainly understand why some folks scrunch up their noses, curl their upper lip, and proceed to lambaste the very existence of kale. I too can conjure up those images of piles of soggy, stinky, greenish-black (think Charleston Green) kale that my cooking forebearers served up. Yes, cooking kale can be a bit tricky but with a little practice you’ll be lovin’ it. This recipe is pretty darn quick and simple and can be eaten as a side dish or you can add a bit more cheese and cream and serve it over pasta. This also goes nicely with a grilled chicken breast or pork loin for those non-grain eaters. For you ‘rooter-to-tooter’ eaters, roast up some marrow bones and serve this on the side or on top of the bones. So come on now, close your eyes, take a big breath, and promise me you’ll give The Mighty Kale another try. I promise you won’t be sorry!
Creamed Kale with Sautéed Mushrooms, Onions, and Asiago
- 1.5 pounds of kale (about 2 bunches), stems removed, blanched and drained
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced, cooked
- 1/2 sweet onion, sliced
- 3 TBSP butter (raw or cultured if you have it)
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg (I’ve used allspice or mace in a pinch, but nutmeg is definitely the best choice)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: Bacon, jowl bacon, or lardons
Remove the center stems, roughly chop, blanch, and drain your kale. Cook your mushrooms to your liking (in a pan with a bit of room between each mushroom, flipping only once is ideal). If you’re using a bacon product, cook it over medium heat until crisp, letting the fat render, and remove it to a paper towel to drain. Try not to eat all of it. Save the fat to saute your onions. If you’re not a pig lover (*gasp*) just use a few teaspoons of your favorite oil (roasted walnut is a nice choice).
Continuing over a medium heat, saute your onions in your choice of fat until translucent and tender.
Add your nutmeg to ‘bloom’ (big ol’ fancy talk for letting it heat a bit, allowing the aromatic oils to release). Cook the nutmeg over medium heat, stirring, for about 30 seconds or so. Heap in your kale. Add the cream and cheese, stirring to coat. Cook until the cream has thickened, the cheese had incorporated, and your kale is tender. This should take about 5 minutes or so. The kale should still be a bit ‘toothy’, or have some body to it. Cook it a bit more if you’d like, but don’t overcook it or you’ll have a bitter mess! Add the mushrooms, and the porky bits if you’re using them, and toss gently to mix them in with the kale and cream sauce.
Now go to town! Pair it up with your favorite meat (beef, pork, and duck work very well). Or maybe you’ll like it with those marrow bones or over toast points with an over-easy fried egg. Or–oh my gosh-with a ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich! Now, go run call your Gran’ Momma and tell her you actually do love kale…as for me, I’m off to hunt down that ooey gooey grilled cheese to make friendly with my kale!