How to Braise Kale
Low and slow makes kale soft, sweet and irresistible.
Braising is usually reserved for tough cuts of meat or root vegetables, but it can do wonders for your kale. Braising softens kale's notoriously tough texture, sweetens its bitter flavor, and infuses it with deep, complex flavor. In short, kale was made for braising.
Mustard and collard greens are great greens for braising too.
Start by sautéing a diced onion in olive oil over medium heat. Be sure to choose a skillet or large pot that has a lid and is big enough to hold the entire bunch of kale before it wilts.
Adding onion to the braised kale deepens the flavor and adds a touch of sweetness.
While the onions are sautéing, pull the kale leaves from the stems and tear them into one-to-two inch pieces. Give the torn kale leaves a good rinse under cool running water to remove any trapped dirt or sand.
Choose Your Liquid
Using a flavorful liquid is the key to maximizing the flavor of braised kale. We like chicken broth because of its deep yet neutral flavor, but vegetable broth is fine too.
Adding a splash of white wine to the broth is a fun option for adding a unique layer of flavor to the kale.
Once the onions are soft and transparent, add the kale and broth. Stir and cook the kale for a few minutes over medium heat, or until it has wilted to half its volume. Once the kale has wilted and the broth has begun to simmer, place a lid on the skillet or pot.
Let it Braise
Turn the heat down to low and allow the kale to simmer in the liquid for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure the liquid is simmering the entire time. If not, turn the heat up slightly until the broth begins to simmer.
Serve & Enjoy
After 30 minutes, the kale will have been braised into tender and sweet perfection. The broth should have given it plenty of flavor, but, if you want, you can finish the kale off with cracked black pepper or spicy red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
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The mild, sweet flavor of braised kale is especially nice when juxtaposed with spicier items, like Cajun or Jerk seasonings.