Heat the bacon fat in pot/dutch oven. Add the garlic, stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the kale in batches. stir, flip or use tongs to turn until the kale has wilted down.Add more kale This goes fairly quickly. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock to come up about 1/4 inch deep. Cover, cook on lowest heat, checking now and then to make sure it doesn't cook dry. Add more stock as needed. Cook for 30-60 minutes. Baby kale can cook the shorter time. Bigger, tougher kale will need the 60 minutes. The last little bit you can let the liquid reduce down, but don't let it cook dry.
I saute in bacon fat with garlic, salt, pepper... or if the leaves are really big it is great in soups like bacon/potato soup. I saute the kale then cook it in the soup until it is very tender and soft.
I make kale salad all year-round using this recipe from Food 52. I amp up the anchovies and garlic in the dressing. I love it. LOVE it. have taken it to pot-lucks and there is never a bite left. The first time I was nervous that it was too "rabbity" for a pot-luck but it got such raves, I bring it a lot. It always goes. I don't always use lacinato kale. I usually just use curly kale, torn into small pieces. I also often skip the Parmesan cheese. You really need to massage the dressing into the kale.
The other thing I eat kale in is some version of white bean, sausage and kale soup. The sausage and soup base vary. Sometimes I use a garlic-y tomato broth, sometimes just a garlic-y chicken broth. Sometimes I use squash, sometimes carrots, sometimes sweet potato. I've yet to run across a sausage that wasn't put to good use in this soup.
Caldo Verde is another kale soup recipe. Portugal's national dish. Potatoes, kale, smoked pork sausage. (Linguica is the Portuguese smoked sausage usually used but I have never actually run across any here in the Midwest.)
I like raw/massaged kale well enuff but as @ChicagoTerry mentioned this jewel of the fall garden really shines when roughly chopped and tossed into a soup by the handfuls.
Not any ole' soup will do tho.
It is the "grandma soups" I yearn for... must be thick with cream and butter (to sweat the onion and celery) and a mix of potato varieties as well as some spicy garlicky sausage ...my usual go to is one of the garlicky Polish links.
For sure some russets... which will mostly dissolve and thicken the dish, leaving a rich mouthfeel behind (the texture of a rough velvet IMO) along with a slightly waxy variety (I use goldens but if they were not sourced locally my next go to is one of the "you pick 'em" places and see if there is a good alternative (the best okra comes from these types of places as well )
But hey...it is your soup and you want to tweak it then go fer it!
I like to garnish this soup with real deal fried okra cut into generous circles and allowed an ice cold bath (will slow down the slime factor) then drained a bit (but not too much as you need moisture for the crust to stay on before dropping GENTLY into a bag full of seasoned cornmeal then gently roll the pieces around until the okra is totally hidden by the mix.
When the soup is almost ready, start pan frying those little nuggets from Heaven....
This part can be tricky so pay attention.. easy in and easy out ( don't crowd the pan! use a med/large cast iron skillet with about an inch (or more) of bacon/olive oil...hot and ready to roll.....I like to load the pan with chopstix or if I am feeling lucky my fingers... using a spider or slotted spoon to remove (again remember there is not anything gluey keeping the cornmeal on the garnish )... then the age old decision...to drain or not to drain.
I fall into the half drain club (as I want them to be still hot and crispy) so I use a smallish spider and proceed like this>>> while one hand removes the still hot pieces the other pats the bottom of the full spider with toweling and then straight to the ready to be passed bowsl of goodness.
Sure there will be a bit of oil that slips thru but this actually improves the flavor with the marriage of olive/bacon fat.
Kinda wordy for a soup recipe, no?
I hope someone actually gets something out of it lol.
This is simple and SO good. Tear kale leaves into bite-size pieces and massage in a half of an avocado. Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice, and add a little salt and pepper. Let it sit for 10 minutes before eating. The leaves become tender and there's no bitterness. Add your fav veggies and toss!
Kale likes garlic, pork, chilies, and beans above all. Caldo Verde has been mentioned, and is a good example. The other thing is that kale is rather tough, and if you don't like that, you cook it until it's soft.
I like Caldo Verde, but I've also had New Orleans gumbo z'herbes with mostly kale, and a terrific Brazilian stew with a lot of kale, and there was this amazing Southwestern thing with hominy and kale. All these had that basic mix, though the gumbo only had pork because of a little bacon fat.
So I suggest picking which of the many, many pork-bean-garlic-chili stews sounds most appetizing, and throw coarsely-chopped, stemmed kale in it as soon as you add the water.
If I am eating it raw, it is the only leafy green that I toss the dressing on first and let sit on the counter for a minimum of an hours, preferably 2 or 3. I think my raw kale salad is great. I start with Tuscan Kale, waned and chopped into fine strips and make dressing from one fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 part OOV, touch of dijon, and a pinch of salt. I toss that in the kale and just let it sit. The lemon tenderizes the kale and remove all of the bitter. Just before serving I toss in the extra salad toppings. My go-tos are a mix (not all at the same time) of avocado, dried cranberries, pistachios, blue cheese crumbles, walnuts, shaved manchego,.
The reason I chop the kale fine is so there is greater surface area for the lemon to permeate.
I make a creamy kale slaw. Slice the kale in thin ribbons, shredded carrot, smashed and chopped garlic and my miracle whip, milk(just enough to thin the miracle whip), bit of sugar, salt, pepper. Mix and let stand for 5-6 hours in the fridge.