One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

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I have been trying to incorporate more dark leafy green vegetables into our meals lately, not only for health reasons, but for the taste too. Spinach and Swiss chard are standards for me, but lately I’ve been playing around a lot with the kale family and cavolo nero, a type of dark leafed, loose cabbage. Kale is a bit tough, so I like to blanch it before stir frying it, adding to soups, and so on.

This is a complete meal-in-one recipe, that also cooks in one pan for less cleanup. It’s great hot or cold, so it makes an interesting non-traditional bento. Make it for dinner, and bring leftovers for lunch! Besides the kale, it also features tiny new potatoes that are sold around here at this time — they are popular for Christmas dinners. New potatoes have a subtle iron taste that complements the similar taste present in kale. If you can’t find new potatoes where your are, substitute firm, ‘waxy’ type potatoes rather than the floury baked potato type. Dried cranberries are added for a touch of sweetness, which fits very well with the kale. And, it has chunky bacon or panchetta or lardons in it, because you know, everything is better with bacon.

This recipe is featured in Bento No. 70.

Recipe: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Makes 4 servings, enough for dinner for two plus bentos the day after

  • 2 bunches black or green kale (to end up with about 6 cups of cooked and chopped kale)
  • 16 small new potatoes, or 4 medium regular firm boiling potatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 225g / 8 oz piece of bacon or panchetta or lardons, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tbs. soy sauce (Use a gluten-free kind if you are gluten-intolerent)
  • 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • black pepper

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Wash the kale, and rip off the leaves. If you have very long leaves you may want to cut them in half or thirds so they fit in the pot. Put the kale in the boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes. Drain, and refresh under cold running water. Take bunches of the cooked kale and squeeze out as much water out of them as you can. Chop up finely. (You may want to do this part in advance to save time - the chopped kale will keep for a day or two in the refrigerator.)

In the meantime, scrub the new potatoes and cut them into half. If you’re using regular potatoes, peel and cut into chunks.

Put the bacon cubes in a large frying pan, and fry them over medium heat until they are crispy-brown on the outside. Take the bacon out, wipe out most of the bacon fat with a paper towel if there’s a lot there, and add the garlic and potatoes. Saute for 5-6 minutes over high heat, until the potatoes are lightly browned. Add 2 cups of water to the pan, and put a lid on. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the chopped kale, and stir and season with salt, pepper and soy sauce. Add the cranberries, and put the lid back on. Let it cook over medium-low heat for another 10 minutes. The garlic cloves should be soft enough to just mash up at this point; do so and stir it into the kale.

Serve hot or cold. If packing in a bento box, let it cool first.

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Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

I have a question about bacon! Since you've lived all over, you must've taken notice of the different types of bacon available in different areas. In the US it's all the streaky belly bacon, some smoked some not, in various flavors. When I lived in the UK I completely fell in love with the back bacon (smoked and unsmoked), and still desperately try to source some back in the states when I can. Do you find that you prefer one sort of bacon over another when making a recipe like this? As a food person, do you prefer one kind over another? Not an urgent question, of course, but one that makes me curious nonetheless.

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Hi Christina, I think dry-cured bacon of any kind would work best for this. I prefer French lardons or Italian panchetta or the Speck we get here, but that's just because for me it's easiest to get those. The only kind I don't like the wet kind that is prepackaged and swimming in liquid.

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

I love kale. I haven't tried anything but savory flavors when I stir fry it, so maybe I will try adding some dried fruit next time. Thank you for the idea, I am sure my husband would appreciate something a little sweet.

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Maki,
Here is another suggestion for green leafy vegetables. I often make a "seaweed salad" version using kale, or similar leafy greens. Last night I used collards with good results. The method is basically - trim the stems out of the leaves and julienne the leaves, steam briefly and toss with sesame oil, soy and sesame seeds. I usually add a colorful, contrasting vegetable such as carrot threads, slivers of red pepper, radishes .... Also in your write up you mention cavolo nero - I grew that in my garden this year for the first time and really enjoyed it. Compared to other greens it seemed to have a longer growing season and is certainly a nice visual contrast. I think it will become a regular member of my garden.

Best wishes,

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Maki if you can get collard greens were you are I think you would love them! Like kale, collards are a brassica; it has large paddle sahped leaves with the same texture as cabbage. It's sweeter than kale. We eat it a lot and I take out the center rib (that goes to the chickens) and then blanch for about 2 minutes before it's stir fried. Like kale it absorbs a lot water that needs to be squeezed out before you cook with it.

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

I forgot to mention that in the article but collard greens would be a good substitute for kale in this recipe. Thanks for reminding me!

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

I do a dish similar in ingredients. I mash potatoes and mix crumbled fried up bacon and steamed and finely chopped leafy green kale. It's a good cold weather dish. I'd like to try using dried cranberries to this. How festive!

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

I love kale too! It took a while to understand what kale was, when an American friend talked about the vegetable, but we in Holland call it 'boerenkool', kool (pronun. 'kohl') meaning cabbage and boeren- meaning 'farmer's' so famer's cabbage.
Here the traditional dish is very hearty: boiled kale (thanks to its sturdiness it won't go snotty) with mashed potatoes and really crisply cooked squares of bacon. Herbs, black pepper and salt to taste.
Then mash it all together! (I told you it was a Dutch farmer's dish;-)

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Maki,
I wonder if you could subsitute fresh cranberries for the dried ones? I see bags of fresh ones in my market during the holiday season and I'm always wanting to buy a bag. Only thing is I don't know many recipes to use them! I've never cooked with fresh ones before, but they sure look pretty in those bags and I'd love to try it sometime =)

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Lately we've had the most incredibly vivid purple kale turning up in grocery stores (in Toronto, a good climate for kale). The amazing Barney the Dinosaur colour fades to eggplant when you cook it, and it has a lovely flavour. Highly recommended if you can find it.

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Here in the south (US that is) we have a tradition of eating greens, you can use collard, mustard (I got kale) blackeyed peas, pork and saurkraut on New Years Day. So I just happen to have kale and we did bacon this morning! I am going to try this. I got a bento box for Christmas am excited to use it everyday for lunch. Thanks, I love your blog!

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

This looks delicious. The recipe does not seem that hard to put together either. I hope that it tastes as good as it looks and seems. Thank you for sharing yet another great recipe. casino online italiani

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Can this be frozen once I've cooked it up and it has cooled? I think I'm the only one who will eat it in my house, and I don't want it to go bad before I can eat it all up.
Thanks! I really appreciate how many gluten-free recipes you have. :-) This is a fun blog to read!

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Tried this last night, minus the cranberries because we didn't have any. It was yummy. My five year old loved it (anything green he'll eat like candy) though the eight year old was harder to convince. Thanks for a great recipie.

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Tried this for dinner tonight and LOVED it. Amazingly enough, the three culinarily wary males at the table were won over, too! I am new to your blog but am really enjoying all that you have here, both content and style. You have already inspired me to a healthier approach to food--thank you!

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

This was great! I decided to try kale for the first time, and this recipe was my test. It turned out wonderfully, and DH liked it too. I'm looking forward to having the remainder tomorrow for lunch. I may try collards next time since they are much easier to get here in the southeastern US.

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

I was looking for a good low calorie chicken dinner to make and this looks like it would fit the bill. I love bacon, but I think I need to cut that out if I am going to watch the calories. Everything eles looks great, and I keep saying I need to find some good recipes with Kale.

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Without any doubt one can say that the recepie is awesome and one need to have such spicy and tasty recepie with them for some special occasions.I must say that the preparation is awesome and very delicious.
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Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Anyhow, I am blown away by your concept here! Perhaps I ought to think about trying this myself. I think all your tips are great! Break it up and list it down. It always looks better and more readable when you write your points that way. Thanks for the tips!
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Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

It seems to me a really salty dish good combination of colors like green and red vegitables viewful for eyes and delicious to eat this crunchy dish. Thank you for the detailed recipie i love coocking with my mom ! will try to make it at home as soon as i can.

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

This seems to be a very delicious dish! I will try it. Hope I can cook the same. http://meladermwarning.com/

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Looks Delicious. I would definitely try it once. The potatoes and bacon looks nicely cooked.
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Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

I agree with you. Than really looks delicious, I actually got hungry just looking at the picture, would love to try this
Regards,
Anna

Re: One-pan braised kale with bacon and new potatoes

Nice twist on the old Irish dish, colcannon. Mashed cauliflower is good in this mix as well.

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