Killer kale and other green delights

Here (at last) is the killer kale recipe I promised. Since you had to wait for me to take another trip and dig myself out of paperwork again, I’m including a second greens recipe. It hies from the south, where greens were plentiful and slaves could put put on a mess of greens in the morning to cook all day, ready for them when they returned exhausted and hungry at the end of a hard day of fieldwork.

Notes to the cook: Use the best greens you can get; excellent cooked greens begin with excellent greens, and that means freshly picked and truly organic. Use kale, collards (which may need a little extra cooking time), turnip or beet tops, Swiss chard, spinach — even mix them together. The options are almost endless. If the leaf stems are woody, hold the stem end in one hand and use the other to strip the leafy part away. Otherwise chop the stems along with the leaves.

The fresh-and-organic rule applies to onions, garlic, herbs and maple syrup, too. The better the ingredients, the better the final dish. Be creative; change quantities or ingredients as the spirit (and market) leads. Here’s a chance for you to visit that local farmer’s market! ______________________________________

Killer Kale

  • Fresh greens (I fill a good-sized pot almost to the top — 20 -30 large leaves)
  • 3 or 4 cups of water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup tamari sauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3-4 medium onions
  • 5 – 6 medium cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of fresh herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, parsley or anything else and in any combination you like)
  • Enough olive oil to nearly cover the bottom of a large skillet
  • Optional garnish: pine nuts, roughly chopped cashews or walnuts, sour cream or yoghurt, freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Roughly chop greens (try rolling a stack of leaves lengthwise, then slice about 1/2″ to 1″ wide, from leaf tip to bottom of stem). Add water to stock pot with enough molasses to cover the bottom of the pan. Add salt. Bring to boil and add greens. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle boil and simmer 8-10 minutes, stirring now and then to be sure the greens cook evenly. (This is a very forgiving recipe, however; I’ve often moved on to chop onions and completely forgotten the occasional stir. I’ve also forgotten the 8-10 minutes. No harm is done unless you leave it long enough to cook dry!)

Drain the greens to remove most of the juice (save that juice: good soup stock). Add the tamari and maple syrup and let marinate while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Chop the onions and crush or mince the garlic. Heat the oil on medium heat in a skillet large enough to accommodate the onions, garlic herbs and greens. When the oil is hot, add the herbs (careful: fresh herbs “spit” thanks to their water content) and cook for a minute or two until they begin to wilt and darken. Add the onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent. Add the greens (marinade and all) to the onion mixture. Sauté for 5-10 minutes, depending on your preference for the crunchiness of greens.

Add garnish(es) and enjoy!

This dish freezes well, if there are leftovers. I usually have to make a special batch and whisk the whole thing into to freezer before the sisters know the dish was made.

Creative cook: Lilli Ana, CHS
Bluestone Farm and Learning Center
Community of the Holy Spirit


A Mess o’ Greens

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cup vinegar (I use homemade – delicious!)
  • Fresh greens (enough to fill a large stock pot)
  • Water
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil (vegetarian option)
  • 1/2 cup Worchestershire sauce (vegetarian option)
  • 1 ham hock (non-vegetarian option)
  • Tobasco or Pickapeppa sauce

Chop onion finely. Cover with vinegar and refrigerate. This and the hot pepper sauce will be used as garnish when serving.

Vegetarian option: put olive oil, Worchestershire sauce and salt in pot.

Layer the whole leaves (you may need to snap off the stems to make them fit) until the pot is full. Press down on the leaves, and fill with enough water to cover the pressed-down pile.

Non-vegetarian option: Place ham hock in pot.

Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook anywhere from four to ten hours. (If you’re leaning toward the ten-hour plan, add extra water to be sure the pot doesn’t boil dry.)

To serve, place a mess o’ those greens on your plate, chop them up, spoon some of the onion-vinegar mix on top, sprinkle with some hot sauce and enjoy!!

Creative cook: Carol Bernice, c/CHS
Bluestone Farm and Learning Center
Community of the Holy Spirit

Now here’s the very best part: The caloric content of either dish is really low, and the nutritional content very high. You just can’t improve on that.


4 thoughts on “Killer kale and other green delights

  1. Hello Sisters– I’m intrigued by the combination of flavors in the first dish (garlic, maple syrup, any combo of herbs that strikes the fancy)– but I’m positively struck by the range of cooking times offered in the two recipes. Has the kale in the first recipe a raw (sharpish) taste? and is it a tough chew? I don’t have kale lovers in my house but I’m interested in the vegetable, partly because it is so cheap in my local grocery store.
    Charlotte W-G

  2. In my experience, kale is a “quick cook”; collards, on the other hand, seem to take quite a bit more time. You can always do a “test cook” with a small amount of the greens you have available to see what tickles your own taste buds!

  3. Down south, we cook collard and turnips and mustard greens on a regular basis (Turnip roots are cut up in little cubes with the greens.

    If you cook cornbread with it and crumble it in the greens is is sooooooo good! And.. if you prefer, put some “pot liquor” (juice from the greens and pour it over the cornbread – that is delicious!

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