It’s so easy this time of year to grab a fresh and sturdy, rubber-banded bouquet of kale at the grocery store (actually in Washington that’s true any time of year), so I almost always do. Usually the kale goes into soup (any soup here seems to accept kale), but these winter months I’ve often made Louise Langsner’s “Slow-Sauté of Squash with Greens.”
The Langsner home must be a tasty place to eat – lately she’s focused on spices and available winter vegetables. (Have a look at her site – she’s a masterful gardener and cook: http://louiselangsner.wordpress.com/ . I’m about to try “Squash and White Bean Soup with Sage” or maybe “Thai Coconut Curry Soup.”)
In spite of “slow” in the title, her squash and kale recipe is quick and really delicious. I’ve made it with both acorn and butternut squash – and once with sweet potatoes. I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the quantities, just balanced the orange and green – in truth just using the kale and squash on hand.
To begin, cut an onion into half and slice thinly. While the onion cooks over a medium heat in two tablespoons of olive oil, peel, seed, and cut four-and-a-half to five cups of winter squash and chop into half-inch cubes.
In four or five minutes, when the onions are soft, add a sliced garlic clove and one-quarter teaspoon of red pepper flakes or a small hot chile, minced.
Put the cubes of squash in the pan, stirring “to coat well with oil.” Langsner increases the heat to medium-high at this point, and cooks “stirring occasionally” for four or five minutes.
In between all this, pull the leaves from the kale’s mid-rib and slice. After adding the greens, sprinkle a half-teaspoon of salt and two tablespoons of water (when I make this in non-non-stick pans, it does get a little crusty – but the water loosens things up).
Continue to cook until the squash and kale are tender – Langsner says four or five minutes, but my stove takes a little longer.
She recommends using this as a “filling for tacos or wraps, or a topping for pasta, pilaf, or polenta.” For the first meal for us, rice along side works well, and the leftovers taste great in great black bean tacos a day or so later.
The sweet bride recently sent me a photo of the variation she prepared – adding black beans and using chard rather than kale. Our younger son looks most pleased in the photo, with his colorful plate of chard and squash nestled beside a shapely mound of brown rice!