The older I get the more I am becoming a savory person especially when it comes to side dishes during the holidays. More often than not, I would rather fill my plate with the tasty sides than the protein that is the star of the meal. This recipe for creamed kale is no exception. I almost finished the entire bowl by myself after tackling Lenny for the last spoon full.
One of my most fond food memories took place when I turned thirty and went to the House of Prime Rib. The meal was great as were the very strong martinis, but the one dish that always comes back to mind is the bowl of creamed spinach that was served alongside the prime rib. While most people were asking for seconds of the perfectly cooked beef I was asking for seconds of this new to me side dish. It was such a comforting food.
This recipe for creamed kale has been inspired by that magical side dish and if I say so myself it maybe even better. Using kale also makes me feel like it might be a bit healthier. Who am I kidding it is still swimming in butter and cream which makes the recipe even more outstanding.
Some tips to help make your creamed kale recipe the best it can be:
- Remove the stems of the kale and blanch the leaves. Quickly cool them in icy cold water. This step helps keep the vibrant green color of the kale while slightly cooking the leaves.
- Dry the leaves using paper towels or really clean flour sack towels. This will enable the fat from the other ingredients to coat the leaves. Do not use flour sack towels that have been washed using fabric softener.
- This is not the time to be on a diet. Use bacon as one of the fats as it gives the recipe great flavor. Do not use low-fat or no-fat dairy which will tend to make the recipe watery. Use the best heavy cream and butter you can find. I always use unsalted butter when cooking and then salt to taste the finished recipe.
- A pinch of smoked chili peppers adds depth to the recipe. I like to use Turkish Chile Flakes but use whatever is your favorite for a little heat.
- I use a fine sieve to add the flour to the recipe as this helps create a smooth creamy sauce.
- Skip the cheese; this recipe for Creamed Kale as does a recipe for Creamed Spinach, there is not cheese. At least if you want to be a traditionist.
Serve this Creamed Kale recipe alongside prime rib or roasted pork tenderloin for an elegant holiday meal.
3 bunches kale, just over 2 pounds
1 small Meyer lemon, juiced
2 bacon strips, diced
3/4 cup yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon Turkish chili flakes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Wash the kale to remove any sand, dirt or bugs. Destem each leave, then cut the leaves in half. I like to wash again to make sure the leaves are really free of dirt.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. I use a dutch oven. Season with about a tablespoon of kosher salt.
Add the kale to the boiling water and let blanch for 1 1/2 minutes. Pour into a colander and immediately rinse with very cold water until the kale leaves have cooled down.
Wrap the kale leaves in paper towels and really dry. You may have to do this a few times to make sure the leaves are dry. Roughly chop the kale and using your hands toss with the lemon juice. Set aside.
In a large and deep frying pan cook the bacon over medium-low heat for three minutes.
Add the onions to the bacon and cook for another 3 – 5 minutes over medium-low heat until the onions are soft.
Add the garlic, butter and chili flakes, stir.
Sift the flour over the bacon/onion mixture and stir to combine.
Add the heavy cream and stir until thickened over low heat. It should come together rather quickly. If it is too thick add a little more cream.
Stir in the kale and cook, stirring often for about 8 – 10 minutes until the kale is tender when tasted.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.