Being a FN junkie, Iron Chef is one of my favorite shows (both the original Japanese version and American version hosted by Alton Brown) and every so often I play Iron Chef in my kitchen (c’mon, like you haven’t!). There’s no one playing with me (except my furry friend Pepper, else I would look crazy blabbering on to myself whilst chopping veggies), although I would like to take on Chef Cat Cora someday. Anywho, tonight was my Iron Chef night, battle Kale.
I’ve never cooked with kale before and since it’s one of those dark green leafies, I thought kale needed a try. For those who were like me, never purchased or cooked with kale previously, it tastes like a cross between broccoli and spinach. Kale consists of tight curly foliage on long stems, the stems were completely removed for my recipe. The price was good for a first time buy (88 cents per bundle), however try to find organic kale if you can which may be more or less this price range. Kale is a cool weather crop and will be most abundant at farm stands in spring, and with any luck in my garden too. Kale has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is high in vitamins A, C, and K. On to the recipe…
Lucky for me, hubby had cooked up the ground turkey before I arrived with the children after work, that cut my prep time in half! (Thanks dear xoxo) Top it all off with shavings of pecorino cheese, heaven!
Kale with Penne
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 bundle of fresh Kale, washed, cut into 1/2″ pieces, remove stems
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 4 Roma tomatoes, diced smallish
- 1 slice thick bacon or a few thin slices pancetta, diced fine
- sea salt and fresh black pepper
- 3-4 sage leaves, Julienne
- 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
- penne or your favorite pasta, cooked to al denté
Brown the turkey with a little salt and pepper over medium heat, just until it’s cooked. Remove to a plate for now, you can drain it on paper towels if you like.
In a large skillet with a lid, turn the heat to low (to medium-low) to render the bacon. Take the little pieces out as they crisp up. Add the onion, stir it around for a minute or two while you raise the heat to medium then add the carrot, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook until the carrot gets a bit floppy, then add the sage, turkey, sauce and a tablespoon of water to the pan. Quickly cover the pan with the kale and the lid. You want to steam the kale for 5 minutes. This way you won’t lose anything from the green leaves because the sauce and water from the veggies will provide the steam. Otherwise, any leached nutrients would be tossed out! Wouldn’t that be sad?
Give it some love half way through the 5 minutes, see if you want more salt or pepper. If you like spicy pasta sauce, add some red chili flakes, oh dear!
Once everybody is tender in the sauce, serve it over the cooked pasta, and don’t forget some cheese over top for a little salty bite. The kale came out quite mellow compared to its raw state, and with so much fiber it holds together pretty well during cooking. The turkey is a great compliment as it doesn’t overthrow the subtle kale flavor. You could leave the turkey out completely and it would still be a fabulous dish! Substitute pasta for gluten-free pasta or rice, for an even healthier meal (one slice of bacon split 3-4 ways is not going to kill you).
This one is a keeper for me, I hope you will try some kale too!