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How To Cook Kale

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Authored by Tanya Nusser in Food and Cooking
Published on 09-04-2009

Kale is delicious and good for you. It has a distinct flavor and is often associated with southern cooking. If you have ever eaten kale, you know that there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to cook it. Below are a couple of examples of how to cook kale correctly for a delicious and nutritious side dish.

Kale is a form of cabbage, which makes it a very hearty vegetable. Since it is so hearty, it can withstand many different cooking methods, unlike other greens which are more delicate. If you were to boil such greens as spinach for very long, the spinach will turn to mush and have very little texture left. But kale will keep its texture and become soft and tender.

No matter which way you decide to cook your kale, you will first need to remove the center stalks of the plant. If you fold the leaves in half, it is very easy to tear the tough spine out of the leaf. You will also need to wash your kale thoroughly. Now cut the kale into uniform bite sized pieces. An easy way to do this is to stack your leaves once you have removed the stalks and washed them, then roll the stacked leaves in the form of a cigar. Slice the rolls into ¼ inch pieces. Then just cut these slices in half width-wise and you should have nice bite sized pieces.

Boiling kale is the most common way of cooking the vegetable. Simply pour one cup of water and one-quarter of a cup of vinegar in a large pot. Bring to a boil and cook until the vegetable turns bright green in color. Remove from heat and serve with extra vinegar and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. For a boost of flavor, add a slice or two of bacon and some chopped onion to the greens as they are cooking. If you can find ham hocks, they give excellent flavor to kale and other leafy greens as well!

Sautéing is also a great way to cook kale greens. To sauté, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil (or fry up a slice of bacon and use the drippings for added flavor) to a large frying pan. Add in one chopped scallion and one minced clove of garlic to the oil and sauté over medium-low heat until scallions are clear in color. Add the chopped kale and ¼ cup of chicken broth. Cook on medium-low heat until kale is bright green. Serve topped with vinegar, bacon crumbles and chopped onion if desired.

If you would like to eat your kale raw, try marinating in Italian dressing and adding the chopped greens to your favorite salad or vegetable dish.

Kale is a very versatile green and can be used in conjunction with other vegetables to create delicious dishes such as stuffing for pork and chicken, salads and pasta dishes. With its punch of vitamin C, carotenes, and folic acid, kale is an excellent choice of vegetable to serve no matter how you cook it!

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