Hail to the Kale

So I admit, I blatantly stole that headline. Albeit, from my own story.

My second article for edible Twin Cities magazine was just published in the September/October issue and it’s all about kale. I realize I’m not the only one who’s obsessed with this bitter, leafy, nutritional powerhouse. It’s showing up as chips, juice and side dishes. There are kale salads popping up at restaurants all over the place (I recently had an amazing one at Tiny’s & The Bar Upstairs in NYC).

Closer to home, the growing season is wrapping up but it’s not time for hibernation just yet. It’s prime kale season.

I brought home three varieties ranging from pale green with veins of white to a plant with curly, deep eggplant leaves and slightly lighter purple stalks. Kale loves the cooler fall temperatures and is perfectly happy in pots.

I plucked a pile of kale leaves from their terra cotta homes now flanking my garden entrance and created a steaming pot of soup.

In addition to the kale, ginger, garlic, chili and onions boost flavor while roasted sweet potatoes add sweetness and heft. It’s delicious. And you can watch me make it at my day job here:

***

Coconut Chicken Kale Soup

I tested this recipe by pan roasting and oven roasting the potatoes, either works beautifully. The measurements can easily be doubled to make a bigger pot of soup. When it’s reheated, the kale will be a less-lovely color, but still equally delicious. If you have peanut butter on hand, I imagine it would be a tasty substitute for the almond butter.

Use this:

1 cup sweet potato, cut into ½ inch dice

1 tbsp olive oil

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 tsp canola oil

½ oz. dried mushrooms

1 inch fresh ginger root, grated

1 clove garlic, minced

1 red chili, diced

½ yellow onion, diced

2 c. chicken stock

½ can coconut milk

¼ c. smooth almond butter

1 ½ cups chopped kale, thick ribs removed

Salt and pepper

Cilantro and chopped roasted almonds, for garnish

Do this:

Heat 1 ½ cups of water to boiling. In a glass, heatproof container (such as a Pyrex), pour water over dried mushrooms. Cover and set aside to rehydrate.

 In the meantime, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sweet potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Pan roast, uncovered until tender, about 10 minutes.

In a dutch oven, heat canola oil over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add to pan and cook through, flipping halfway through. Remove chicken from dutch oven and set aside, cutting into 1 inch chunks when cooled.

 Add onion, chili, garlic and ginger to the dutch oven and season with salt and pepper. Add ¼ cup of the chicken stock to the pan and stir, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

 Cook about 5 minutes, until onion is tender. Add almond butter to dutch oven. Stir into vegetables and cook for about a minute. Add mushrooms and broth, the rest of the chicken stock, coconut milk, sweet potatoes and chicken to soup.  Bring to a simmer. Add kale and simmer for two minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

 Ladle soup into bowls, top with cilantro and almonds and serve.

***

6 thoughts on “Hail to the Kale

  1. Hi there I know what a fan you are of kale Just wanted to tell you what I did with All my Kale last year Kale pesto! Kale Walnuts Parm Evoo!

    Great all winter long!!

    Carole Garrigos

  2. Roasted Kale – awesome too…excellent treat!! Even my 13 year old step-daughter is is somewhat picky when it comes to veggies LOVED IT!!

  3. I am so making this today. I heard you on Let’s dish yesterday talking about your blog, and here I am. So excited to look at all your past blog entries and look forward to bookmarking for weekly new reading. My family of six lives in Bloomington and I love that I can read your blog from a local perspective. Keep it going !

  4. Just wanted to leave a little update about your recipe for the kale soup. I made it and it was so easy and delicious. This is a perfect time of year for all of us to amp up our ginger intake. Ginger is amazing for our immune system during cold and flu season. My husband who has had a life long hatred for sweet potatoes even loved it! I think it stems from the over cooked marshmallow mass from childhood. The kids as always, ate what was put in front of them but kale is a hard sell for them. But, who knows what is good for them …me! They will love it as we do someday. Thanks for sharing your creation! Oh one other note, all I had was organic ROASTED amond butter and wow was it good in it.

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