The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Braised Kale

July 1st, 2009 · 4 Comments · Posted in garden, Recipes

Tuscan kale for flavor and striking foliage

Tuscan kale for flavor and striking foliage

One of my favorite plants in the vegetable garden is the Tuscan kale, sometimes called “black” kale or Lacinato kale. It makes a stunning presentation with long, narrow, bluish-green leaves.It looks for all the world like a crinkled, miniature palm,  with leaves growing up in a circular pattern, then flopping over. And it is so hardy. Where our other kales and mustard greens have long since bolted in the heat and humidity here in the District of Columbia, the Tuscan kale seems utterly unfazed. I almost hate to harvest it, but last night I collected a heap of leaves for dinner.

This kale also has a robust, meaty flavor. I braised it in the traditional Southern style. First, sweat an onion, peeled and roughly chopped, in bacon grease or extra virgin olive oil until it is soft. Then add a ham hock and about 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, clean the kale and trim any tough stems. Chop the kale roughly and place in the simmering broth. You may need to push the kale down into the liquid until it wilts. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for an hour, or until the greens are tender.

You can use this method with all sorts of hearty greens–kale, collards, mustards–or a combination of greens. Last night we ate our kale with some leftover grilled flank steak. But I have bigger plans for it for tonight. Stay tuned.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Your comment may have to wait for approval to be published to ensure that we don't accidentally publish "spam". We thank you for understanding.


  • magic cochin

    It’s one of my favourites too Ed – I’ve planted it beside the grape vine to remind me of the sun drenched countryside between Pisa and St Gimignano – and today in England we have Tuscan style sun and heat (and Government health warnings, not kidding, the English wilt when temps top 30C – it’s official!)

    This recipe sounds delicious, looking forward to your bigger plans. Have you tried Ribollita?


  • Ed Bruske

    Celia, love the idea of ribollita. This kale would work in all kinds of soups or stews. I’m also thinking of the classic Portuguese kale soup. They use a different type of kale. And we wouldn’t be able to eat the potatoes. Still, this is the perfect kale for that type of treatment, so much flavor.

  • keri

    Last year I planted six kale plants.

    It was my first time gardening, so I had no idea how much that would yield me for the season(s). We ate kale & eggs almost every day, made kale pesto, kale & white bean soup, kale & carrots, kale & potatoes, kale, kale, kale.

    This year I planted only 2 plants, but my CSA also offers kale. Now I’m blanching and freezing it for winter. I love the stuff and simply can’t believe how productive and hardy it is.

    I’d love to hear more ways to prepare kale as it is a never-ending supply almost year-round.

  • Ed Bruske

    Keri, I agree. I’d love readers to send in their favorite kale recipes. This is one of my favorite vegetables as well, and I usually wind up cooking it pretty much the same way every time.