Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Kale with Red Beans, Cilantro, & Feta

Another favorite and spectacular looking vegetable is dinosaur kale (a.k.a lacinato kale). Dinosaur kale is characterized by its bluish hue and pebbly leaves. I find it fascinating to look at.

I have to admit, I used to be a little afraid of kale. "Kale" sounded rough and I rather imagined it as green, tough, bitter, and indigestible. Why eat kale when there's chard? I thought. Then I discovered this tender dinosaur kale and now I look forward to kale's dark, hearty flavor. It's one of my favorite soup vegetables, with its rich color, but lately I've been braising kale and sauteing it again to finish.

That's how I prepared this adapted recipe for Kale with Red Beans, Cilantro, and Feta from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors. Talk about an unlikely combination! But it really does work and it just so happened I had some red kidney beans to use up. I added cubes of tofu, quite a bit of garlic, chopped kalamata olives, and slices of red jalapeno. It was absolutely delicious! In fact, I couldn't stop eating it and by the time hubby got home his portion was rather small. So I added my latest vegan sausage discovery, Field Roast's Smoked Apple Sage Sausage, to fill out his plate (which was scraped clean).

Kale with Red Beans, Cilantro, & Feta (adapted from Local Flavors):

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch dinosaur kale, washed, ribs removed and torn into 2-3 inch strips
7 oz red kidney beans (canned)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 oz tofu, cut into small cubes
6 kalamata olives, chopped
3 oz crumbled feta
Red jalapeno, seeded and sliced

Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the onion gently until softened. Add the garlic and cook 2 additional minutes. Add the kale. The water that clings to the leaves from washing the kale should be enough to braise it. Add salt as desired, cover, and braise until tender (mine took about 8 minutes). Uncover, add the beans, cilantro, tofu, and olives. Turn up the heat and saute until all ingredients are cooked through. Add the crumbled feta and turn off the heat.

Serve topped with slices of red jalapeno.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Looks just like something I would cook (I make lots of beans-n-kale concoctions).

5:24 PM  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Your picture is stunning. Ooh, little beads of dew.
AND: Isn't Deborah Madison amazing? A superior recipe inventor.
Bean Sprout says hi!

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Tanna said...

What great photos! You seem to be topping yourself - just getting better and better.
I also find Deborah Madison pretty amazing.

2:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks really nice Catherine! I love the picture of the 'dino-kale'


7:28 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Deborah Madison is amazing! She seems to have discovered most winning combinatations. She's the cook whose wisdom I rely on most.

This was such an odd-sounding combination, but it was great!

BTB: I've always paired white beans with greens so this made a nice change.

Cookie - good to see you and Bean Sprout. Sweetpea was sad to have missed you.

Thanks for the photo compliments! Now it's dark so early, getting a decent shot has become much harder!

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow amazing! love the photos.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Hey Catherine. Kale is my favorite green. I'm always appalled when it's relegated to a garnish!

7:03 AM  

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