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‘Queen of Green’: Kale with Bacon and Lemon

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Years ago, at a cooking class in Central Market, I heard cook and author Deborah Madison mention how good kale chips were (leaves of kale, baked in the oven dry out to make chips). I’d not heard of this before and was intrigued, but not really tempted to try it. (I have, since.) In the same class, she also mentioned cooking for her husband, who at breakfast had to have “his pork products.

Kale, steaming with bacon and onions.

Kale, steaming with bacon and onions.

In the recipe below, one can enjoy a feast of nutrition from this powerhouse of a green, or as someone termed it, the “queen of green,” with a bit of pork product adding its smoky taste. The lemon finishes off, adding its fragrance and balancing acidity.

Boiling kale for a long time is not recommended, as it loses nutrients in the water. It’s better to steam, stir fry or microwave. If you do boil it, nutritionists suggest drinking the cooking water to get back some of the nutrition. The link below, to Wikipedia, offers a lot more information on this leafy green.

Wikipedia: Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxnthin and rich in calcium. Kale, as with broccoli and other plants called brassicas, contains sulforaphane, (especially when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties.  Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane, however steaming, microwaving or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale is also a good source of carotenoids.

Maybe at this point we should mention that kale also tastes good. If you like greens, you’ll love kale.

Kale with Bacon and Lemon

1/4 cup diced smoked bacon
1 onion, diced
1 pound kale, chopped (about 6 cups)
1/2 cup broth (beef or chicken)
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided use
1 lemon, zested and squeezed for juice (you’ll want 1/2 to 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and a tablespoon of the juice
Salt, to taste
Pepper to taste

In a large nonstick skillet cook diced, smoked bacon until it begins to brown, several minutes. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil and add onion to pan, sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add kale, and stir-fry this until the kale is a little limp, with bright green color, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and let the kale and liquid steam together, as you stir gently, another five minutes or until kale is tender to your liking. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, drizzle in two more teaspoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest and 1 tablespoons of juice (or more, if you like. Toss and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

 

 

 

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