Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve come up with a new recipe, and I’ve had a couple in the last few days. The first is a really simple braise of kale, green beans, tomatoes, and optional meat. The two things that make this recipe, for me, are the braising technique (cooking in a small amount of liquid) and adding some baking soda to the recipe to neutralize the acidity. Don’t skimp on the fat; it really gives this dish a hearty richness.
- 2 Tbl. fat (olive oil is fine; beef or bacon drippings are great)
- 4 c. chopped kale
- 2 c. diced tomatoes with juice (fresh, or one pint/small can)
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda, or to taste
- Three small potatoes, cubed
- 2 c. green beans
- Optional: diced cooked meat
Wilt the kale in the fat. Add the tomatoes (cook for a minute or two if they’re fresh so they release their juice) and the baking soda. You’re aiming to reduce the acidity without making the tomatoes actually sweet. Throw in the potatoes and green beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes. Add the meat in at the end to warm it through. (I suppose you could brown some ground beef at the beginning if you weren’t using up leftovers.)
When the potatoes are tender, remove the lid and cook the tomatoes down so everything is saucy but not soupy. Serve as-is, or over couscous, rice, noodles, etc.