Cooking kale slowly in a bit of bacon turns it tender and luscious, shallots adds just a touch of sweetness.
Kale salads and kale smoothies may get all the attention, but old-fashioned treatments like slowly cooking these tough, often bitter, dark green leaves with a bit of bacon renders them wonderfully tender and flavorful and de-bitters them, too.
You may be used to stripping the tough center rib out of kale leaves—particularly if you make a lot of the aforementioned kale salads—while you certainly can do that for this dish, know that you don’t need to since the slow cooking is designed to make even that tough center stem tender enough to enjoy.
Bacon Braised Kale
- 1 bunch kale
- 2 slices bacon
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 2 shallots
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Trim and discard any tough stem ends. Chop the kale into 2- to 3-inch pieces, rinse clean, and set aside.
- Chop the bacon into 1-inch pieces. Heat a large sauté pan, frying pan, or pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring or turning as needed, until the bacon has rendered its fat and started to brown, about 5 minutes.
- While the bacon cook, peel and finely chop the shallots. When the bacon is cooked, add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add the kale, with any water still clinging to its leaves. Stir to combine, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the kale is completely tender, about 30 minutes. If the pan gets dry during the cooking, add 2 tablespoons of water at a time.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot or warm.