Kale is a dark green, leafy vegetable that is often forgotten. A form of cabbage, and part of the same species as broccoli and brussels sprouts, kale is the super-food of vegetables. Kale provides a great source of calcium, as well as fat soluble vitamins A and K. The carotenoids which are also found naturally in kale, aid in the absorption of vitamin A and act as antioxidants which reduce the amount of the disease causing free radicals within the body. Some of these carotenoids in particular, help with our eye health in absorbing damaging ultraviolet light.
The presence of vitamin A and beta-carotene in kale have that very particular relationship as I had mentioned above. It is the natural occurrence of these nutrients together within a food that is so important. This is where, I believe, supplementation is a problem. My position on nutrition, is to get it naturally. It is the intake and absorption of the combination of nutrients together, not separate, that is optimal. Different nutrients and compounds work together whereas one may help the body absorb the other. The only supplementation I consider is the occasional protein shake from a quality source, and high grade fish oil. Since most people don’t eat a lot of oily fish like salmon and mackerel or beef liver, vitamin D is also something that may be considered if you don’t live in a warm, sunny climate. Something that really bothers me is so called “fitness professionals” advising people or their clients to supplement with protein shakes, multi-vitamins, pre-workout drinks and who knows what else. Do some research, READ! Look at the big picture, not just the workout.
Here’s how to turn that kale into something edible…
Start by chopping your couple onions, few stalks of celery and a few carrots. Try as close to a 1/4 inch dice if possible. Mince a few cloves of garlic and reserve separate from your vegetables. After rinsing your kale, cut into strips (chiffonade) like ribbons and set aside. Lastly, slice up a pound of bacon or however much you prefer (I like bacon). Use a soup pot with your burner on med-low and add your bacon with a drop of oil (avocado oil, or the like).
Once your bacon has rendered, add your mixture of onion, celery, and carrots and give it a stir. When your vegetables start to become soft and release their moisture (this is called sweating) then add your garlic.
Just before adding your chopped kale and stock, I added a half of a can of stewed tomatoes, and a sprinkle of nutmeg. You could also use tomato paste (a TBSP or two). Nutmeg and dark, leafy greens go very well together…
Now, add your chopped kale and stock. I had made stock with leftover bones earlier in the week…You don’t need much! I used about a 1.5- 2 quarts worth. From here season with a little bit of salt and pepper and let cook at a low simmer until the greens become tender up to around 20 minutes.
7 bunches of green kale
5 celery stalks
6 garlic cloves
1 lb. of uncured, all natural, no preservative bacon
1 Cup of San Marzano stewed tomatoes/ 1-2 TBSP tomato paste
1.5- 2 qts. of chicken/beef/ vegetable stock
nutmeg, salt and pepper