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Last Plant Standing: Kale

Slowly, over a very long time, I’ve grown to love kale.

We first planted it because Jim kept saying “It’s so good for you!” He already liked kale. Our most common way to serve kale in those days was stir-fried. It’s so fast and easy.

Stir-fried Kale

Wash, chop and let dry 10 or 12 leaves of kale (It will significantly shrink in the cooking process, so better to over-prepare). Mince a clove of garlic. Add a tablespoon of oil to a large pan or wok. Once the oil is hot, sauté the garlic for one minute. Then add the chopped kale. Stir-fry to coat the leaves in oil. After 3 or 4 minutes, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of soy sauce to the pan and continue to stir. Turn off the heat and cover. Let the kale steam for a few minutes before serving.

Another big plus to growing kale is that it’s a beautiful plant. It stands tall in the garden bed and adds texture and color variation. We’ve planted several varieties in the last few years, including purple kale. It’s especially lovely in the garden and it cooks up green!

Gardening rumor has it that kale tastes even better after the first frost. I’ve come to agree with that philosophy. It’s also utterly amazing to me that our kale is still standing and we are still harvesting– even in the second week of December.

Kale and Smoked Turkey

Use either smoked turkey wings or smoked turkey legs, available in the grocery store. You may not have seen them, if you haven’t looked for them, but most stores do carry them. (We’ve also used smoked ham hocks but I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.)

Put the smoked turkey into a large pot. Cover them with broth. (You can instead use water, about a quart or so.) Bring to a boil and add one chopped onion and 2 minced cloves of garlic. Partially cover and simmer for one hour.

Then add 2 pounds of washed and chopped kale. Simmer the pot for another hour. Take out the wings or legs and cool briefly so you can then remove the meat and return it to the pot.

Serve kale in bowls with some pieces of turkey and some of the liquid. We always have fresh hot corn bread as well. It’s a favorite winter meal of ours.

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