11 January 2009
OK, let´s talk about kale. Until recently, all I knew about kale was that it´s unbelievably healthy and fairly tough. I mean tough in the "tough to chew" sense of the word. Kale is basically a good-for-you leafy green with a terrible reputation. In Holland, it's used mainly (only?) to make stampot. Stampot is a classic Dutch winter dish that is made by boiling potatoes, kale, and onions until everything is soft enough to mash. It's served with smoked sausage and gravy. Foreigners in the Netherlands are a bit obsessed with it because it's so... well, Dutch. It's cheap, filling, and not exactly a gastronomic delight. As a result of its popularity, though, washed, cut kale is in all the grocery stores in great quantity and low prices all winter long.
For the past four years, I've walked by the kale. For the past four years, I have been missing out. Thanks to a tip from mom (best cook ever), kale has become a favorite in our house. It's delicious, easy, and quick thanks to the double Dutch staples of pre-cut smoked bacon cubes and kale. I cook up this stir-fry recipe to accompany Chinese food and anything else. You can leave out the ginger if you want a more western flavor. I'll add in some amounts on the recipe, but my habit is to guess and toss and adjust as necessary. You can't really go wrong. Cooking the bacon over low heat first helps render out most of the fat, eliminating the need for any additional fat when you cook your vegetables. If you end up with too much, this vegetable stores and reheats well.
1/2 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic
Cut the bacon into cubes or, if you're using strips, 1cm wide pieces. Cook them over low heat while you prepare the vegetables. Wash and slice the kale into thin pieces, removing the hard ribs. Cut the ginger in slivers and crush the garlic. When the bacon is starting to brown, add the ginger and garlic. Stir for a minute. Add kale. Allow to cook down, stirring occasionally for about 3-5 minutes. It will take on a rich green color. Toss in a wee bit of salt to taste (this will depend on how salty your bacon is). Serve hot and enjoy!
All credit for this little recipe and my love of good vegetables goes to Mom.