I was reading on Facebook the other day that there were some dangers involving eating too much kale. One comment said, “They were so over kale!” I can see the concern if you’re a green smoothie junkie who drinks a quart a day of the stuff. For me however, I will never be over kale. It’s just too plain good to get over!
We typically grow 3 kinds of kale: Winterbor, Red Russian and Tuscan. We enjoy them all, with Tuscan being my favorite. Frankly, it’s loaded with so many goodies that eaten with a bit of moderation, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Kale, also known as borecole, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. A leafy green, kale is available in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Whew….does it get any better than that?
As a vegetable farmer and cook, I’m always looking for different ways to use this powerhouse vegetable. It’s amazingly versatile whether used raw in salads, as a creative side dish, in soups or as I discovered recently in ragout. A ragout is really a stew that contains a hodgepodge of meat, vegetables and spices. They are thick in nature and rich in flavor. While putting this ragout together, I decided to use other favorite foods such as cannellini beans, roasted heirloom tomatoes, which I put up this fall (see blog Waste Not Want Not 9/10/12), and sweet Italian sausage. Don’t be fooled by the the simplicity of this recipe….it’s simply outrageous!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- 8 cups chopped, trimmed Tuscan kale (about 1 large bundle)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 pints roasted heirloom tomatoes (Muir Glenn Fire Roasted chopped tomatoes are a decent substitute—2 – 16oz cans)
- 2 16 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded pecorino cheese
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and sausage rounds until sausage in browned, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add pressed garlic; cook 2 minutes more.
- Add kale and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil.
- Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with pecorino cheese.
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell