Keep calm and kale on: kale, carmelized onions, and carrots

Tired of kale? Sweetened with caramelized onions and carrots, this one-pan recipe will renew your appreciation for this leafy green vegetable.

Kitchen Report
Start with the onions, then layer in the carrots, garlic, and kale and cook until the kale has just begun to wilt.

I know what you are thinking: Stop with the kale recipes already! It’s no longer trendy! I can’t eat anymore! I’ll never like it! It might be toxic! (It's not.)

But the fact is, kale is going to keep growing from the ground and your local community supported agriculture share (CSA) is going to keep putting it in the bags it delivers to you, so keep calm and kale on.

Last week, my good friend Erin was visiting and she suggested after I had picked her up from the train station that we cook at home instead of eating out. I always prefer that choice! So we purchased a rotisserie chicken from the market and Erin said, “Kale, can we get kale, too?”

Her request reminded me of a recipe I had been wanting to try. I had heard of it at a potluck earlier this spring from a fellow masters swimmer. Maura told of a kale dish that was so simple and so delicious to make I had her repeat it several times until I felt like I had it memorized. It might have been her Irish accent and the storytelling way she recounted layering kale on top of carrots, on top of onions in a deep skillet that had me believing that – yes – “kale” and “delicious” could exist in the same sentence. (I won’t blather on about kale’s nutritional qualities, but let’s just say that Maura recently completed swimming the English Channel!)

In any case, the other night I could only sort of recall Maura’s recipe, but hunting around on the Internet I found some other ideas and then just went about it.

Erin suggested using a bit of butter with the olive oil to enhance the flavor. The caramelized onions bring a sweetness to the dish that really does make kale enjoyable as a side dish! I also just read recently that you should chop/mince your garlic and then let it rest 10 minutes before tossing it in the pan to optimize what garlic offers. (For more on that, check out this interesting review on The Kitchn about a new book: “Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson.)

To complete our meal, we roasted a sweet potato sliced into coins, tossed with olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper in a 400 degree F., oven for about 30 minutes.

I made the kale dish second time after Erin left, to use up the remaining bunch of kale sitting in my crisper and then thought to add dried currants and slivered almonds for extra flavor. For lunch the next day, I added some of the leftover rotisserie chicken and ate it like a salad.

I wasn’t sure what to call this recipe. So let’s just call it what it is.

Kale, carrot, and onion
 Serves 4 to 6 (to serve 2, this recipe easily halves)

1 clove garlic, minced and diced
 1 bunch kale
 1 tablespoon olive oil
 1/2 tablespoon butter
 1 small onion, cut in half and then sliced into half-moon slivers
 2 carrots, sliced into coins
 1/2 cup water
 Slivered almonds, for garnish
 Dried currants, for garnish

1. First, crush and dice garlic. Set aside.

2. Wash kale and roll in paper towel to dry. Trim and discard ends. Chop the stalks and leaves into 1-inch pieces.

3. Heat skillet (or Dutch oven if cooking the whole bunch of kale) and add butter and olive oil. When the butter has melted, add onion, and cook over medium heat until the onion begins to turn translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots begin to soften.

4. Add kale and stir to coat with olive oil/butter. Add 1/2 cup water, more if the bottom of the pan isn’t covered.

5. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

6. Serve onto plates and garnish with almonds and dried currants, if you wish.

Related post on Kitchen Report: Sautéed kale with toasted almonds

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