Tag Archives: kale

Creamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs

Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsYou may not be able to tell from the bevy of desserts I post every week, but I am a huge proponent of eating your greens. Almost every meal I make for myself involves a huge bed of arugula. Yes, for real.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsThat said, on Thanksgiving, there are so many sides that leafy greens can get lost in the mix or left out entirely. To that, I counter this: Creamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs. It’s the sort of “eat your greens” situation that is absolutely welcome sidled up to cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, and Fluffy Dinner Rolls.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsThis is a vegetable side dish that stretches the meaning of the word “vegetable.” Yes, there is kale in there—a lot of it—but it’s coated in a sauce of butter, heavy cream, milk, cream cheese and parmesan, and topped with buttery breadcrumbs. Dietetic, this is not. On Thanksgiving, though, who cares? If there were ever a day for eating a creamy, cheesy, crispy-topped side and calling it a serving of vegetables, this is the one.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsIf you’re wondering why I used kale here instead of going for classic creamed spinach, the answer is simple: kale’s texture holds up. Even after the blanching, shocking, sautéing, saucing, and baking, it still has texture. It contrasts perfectly with the crispy breadcrumbs instead of getting lost in the cheesy sauce. And it’s pretty. And I just *like* kale.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsNow, I know that adding one more thing to your Thanksgiving menu is never something to be taken lightly. Time and energy are at a premium at the holidays! Luckily, Creamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs is perfect for making ahead. You can stir together the creamed kale part of the equation a day or two ahead of time and refrigerate it. When you’re ready to serve, top it off with the breadcrumb mixture and bake until brown, bubbly, and so creamy and wonderful that even I—a person who has written repeatedly about loathing cream sauce—can’t resist.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsLooking for something a little lighter? Try my Caramelized Brussels Sprouts!

Creamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs
makes 6-8 servings

Creamed Kale:
2 lbs lacinato kale (curly kale works too)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 ounces full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

Breadcrumb Topping:
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (or other plain breadcrumbs)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (~1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400F. Bring a large (6 quart) pot of water to a boil over high heat.

Wash and dry kale. Remove and discard the ribs. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice kale into 1/2-inch ribbons.

Fill a large bowl with ice water.

When the pot of water comes to a boil, salt it liberally. Add kale and let cook about 1 minute (until bright green). Remove kale and plunge it directly into the ice water. This method is called blanching & shocking.

Line a sheet pan (or a few plates) with paper towels. Once kale is cool (a few minutes), remove it from the water and place on paper towel-lined pan. Blot with more paper towels to remove excess water.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot (I used the same one I used for the kale) over medium heat. Add butter and allow to melt. Sauté onion 5-7 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in kale, followed by nutmeg, salt & pepper. Stir in heavy cream, milk, and cream cheese. Turn heat up to medium-high and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, or until cream cheese has melted and sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Grease an 8-inch casserole dish. Fill with creamed kale.

Make breadcrumbs. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and melted butter. Add Parmesan. Scatter mixture over the top of the kale. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.

Serve warm. This is best the day it is made, but may be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to three days. Breadcrumbs will soften over time, but may be re-crisped in the oven.

To make ahead: after transferring creamed kale to a casserole dish, press plastic wrap to the surface and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, make breadcrumb mixture and scatter it over the top. Bake at 400F until bubbly and golden, about 30 minutes.Creamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy BreadcrumbsCreamed Kale with Crispy Breadcrumbs

Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup

Sausage, Kale & White Bean SoupAs is my tradition, for the next three or four weeks, this baking blog will be a little light on the sweets and treats. It’s not that I don’t love making them anymore—that’s definitely not the case!—it’s just that I need to eat some non-sugary, non-flour-based food.

I mean, I ate vegetables over the holidays. But I also ate bread, cheese, chocolate covered pecans, a small slice of Chocolate Cream Pie, a not-small slice of Vanilla Layer Cake, my friend David’s wicked-good habanero cheese grits, a Bavarian Ham Sandwich that was basically the best thing I’ve ever eaten, a peanut butter cookie that was delightfully crumbly and tasted sort of like bacon (?), a Costco croissant that I enjoyed more than I’d like to admit, and fudge. So much fudge. Why did nobody tell me how good fudge is?!

Sausage, Kale & White Bean SoupUm…all that is to say, I need to eat some real food. That doesn’t mean a month of boring recipes though—boring doesn’t fly around here. Nope.

Sausage, Kale & White Bean SoupFirst up is this Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup. It’s a wintertime favorite of mine, and almost everyone I make it for asks for the recipe. I’ve made it three times since Thanksgiving and went to a dinner party where it was served. What I’m saying is that once you try this soup, you’re going to want to make it again and again.

Sausage, Kale & White Bean SoupBeyond being hearty and full of vegetables, Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup is way easy and comes together in under an hour. Just brown the sausage and add some mirepoix (fancy French word for carrot/celery/onion) and garlic. Throw in some tomato paste, thyme, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and chicken stock before stirring in two cans of cannellini beans, some torn kale and a little parsley.

Sausage, Kale & White Bean SoupThat’s it. Super easy. Pretty good for you too.

Sausage, Kale & White Bean SoupSo easy and so good for you, in fact, that you’ll have time to make and batch of Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits and won’t feel too bad about eating two of them. That recipe will be up Friday!Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup

Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup
makes 3 quarts, 4-6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
3 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into thin half-moons
3 stalks celery, trimmed, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
4 cups chicken stock
2-4 cups water (as needed)
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
1 bunch lacinato kale, cleaned, stems removed and torn into pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Kosher or sea salt to taste, if needed

Heat olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go. Transfer cooked sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot.

Reduce heat to medium. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften (about 8-10 minutes). Return sausage to the pan, add tomato paste and stir to coat. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, until tomato paste begins to darken. Add bay leaves, thyme, optional red pepper flakes, chicken stock, and enough water to cover everything. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook 20-25 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.

Remove bay leaves. Add beans and kale and let cook 5-7 more minutes, until greens have wilted a bit. Stir in parsley. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve.

Soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup