Kil’t Kale

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I don’t want to suggest that the only way to eat kale is when it’s smothered in bacon grease and bourbon. But I think it probably is the best way.

This is a recipe originally available from Garden and Gun (online here), passed on to me by a coworker who, like me, was sick of kale salad after kale salad. Again, not that there is really anything wrong with kale salad, but every once in a while, you want something a little more tender, more meaty, something easier to convince your loved ones to eat.

The foundation of the dish is something called “bacon jam,” a concoction of bourbon, bacon, bacon grease, vinegar, and a little bit of sugar. Once you’ve got that mixture, you toss in your chopped kale and wait for it to wilt. It practically melts into the bacon jam, leaving you with an amazing sweet/sour/bitter combination. Remember how I said that all flavor is a combination of fat, salt and acid? This is a perfect example of a good balance among the three. Continue reading

Bison Bacon Burgers

paleo gluten-free bison bacon burger oh manBear with me. I promise, you want to make these, you just might not know it yet. Bison is maybe a little unusual for people who are not living in rural areas where people regularly shoot and kill and eat everything from snow geese to antelope.

That’s not to say that there are actually wandering bison where I am, but when you live in a place where people regularly throw game dinners and eat moose, elk, venison and doves, you get to be more open-minded. The standard beef, pork and chicken triumvirate is demolished. Continue reading

Chicken, Chard and White Bean Soup with Bacon

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This is one of those recipes that came out of nowhere for me. There I was, picking the leftover meat off of the easiest roasted chicken ever, wondering what I was going to do with the buttload of chard I had harvested from my garden, when it it me — soup. It’s finally soup season. And I could make some with chicken and chard, and I don’t know, white beans? Yes, white beans. Very Tuscan. Awesome. 

This soup is so good that it made me wonder why I hadn’t tried chard in soup before. The reason is simple: it’s a texture thing. I sort of expected it to cook down into a huge mass that wouldn’t blend well with the other ingredients, but it didn’t. It held its texture beautifully, softly wilting but not turning mushy as I had feared. 

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White beans, chicken and the chard combine with garlic and even bacon to make a soup that is incredibly hearty and filling without being too heavy. I brought it for lunch three times last week, and it heated up perfectly each time. Plus, it’s gluten-free and dairy-free — what’s not to love?

If you don’t have leftover roasted chicken as I did, you can use the meat from a rotisserie chicken or from about three cooked chicken breasts. And if you don’t have as much time as I did to cook beans, feel free to use two cans of cannellini beans or whatever white beans you can find.

Chicken, Chard and White Bean Soup
 
Author: Kate Wutz
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 40 mins
Serves: 2 quarts
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried white beans, soaked
  • 5 cups water
  • 5 sliced bacon, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch chard, de-stemmed and chopped (both leaves and stems)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 6 cups chicken broth (or bone broth, which is what I used)
  • cooked meat from half of a 5-pound bird, or about 3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded or chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. First, cook your beans. Bring soaked beans and 5 cups water to a boil, and boil for about an hour and a half, or until the beans no longer have a white dot on the inside when cut open. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bottom of a large stock pot, fry your chopped bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off all but about 2 Tbsp of the grease, then return pot to medium heat.
  3. Add red onion and the stems from the chard. Sautee in the bacon grease until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add white wine, broth, chicken meat and salt and pepper to taste, along with the beans, chard and the reserved bacon (minus however much you want to use for a garnish). Reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour. Serve, topped with crunchy bacon pieces.
 

 

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

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Sometimes, you just want a meal with an off-the-charts comfort factor. Whether your energy is low, you’ve had a bad day or you just feel kind of blah, we’ve all has those moments where we want something easy, we want something delicious, and we want that thing right now

Enter — these sprouts. Believe me when I tell you, this dish makes me happier than almost anything in the entire world. It’s gluten-free and paleo, but also so easy, so simple, and totally a complete meal. The only hard part is that it uses two frying pans, not one — generally one more than I would like to clean at the end of a long day.

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Lemony Chard with Goat Cheese (gluten-free, with vegan and paleo options)

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I might be a really bad gardener, you guys.

This is my first year planting a garden, and I feel like so far, there may have been more misses than hits. My spinach died of something I think was a fungus but may have been water blisters; my tomato plants are puny and have yet to produce anything; half of my herbs have died. And this afternoon, I walked out to my cold frame to excitedly survey my kale, only to find that caterpillars have begun munching away at the leaves. Ugh.

The only thing that has survived, nay thrived, so far has been my rainbow chard. It somehow escaped whatever killed the spinach and is soaring high, bright happy stems aloft. It’s survived my erratic watering schedule (oops) and has missed the Great Caterpillar Invasion of ’14. This chard is my shining star.

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Fried “Rice” (paleo, gluten-free)

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When I first heard about making rice with cauliflower, I was skeptical. I’ve never been the world’s biggest cauliflower fan, and my preferred way of serving this oddly white vegetable was with melted Velveeta all over the top of it.

Yeah, the last time I ate cauliflower, I was also still eating Velveeta. Judge if you like.

But this week, I found myself craving starch and protein all blended together in a dish that was easy to make, yet burst with flavor. I have been obsessed with Asian flavors lately — cilantro, fish sauce, anything with that indefinable umami — but I needed something that was also Paleo, which meant no actual rice, no soy sauce and, more to the point, no Pad Thai from my favorite take-out place.

Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo came to the rescue yet again. Continue reading

Kale with Bacon and Balsamic (paleo, gluten-free, vegan option)

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This is one of those dishes that probably should be eaten alone. That way, there’s no one around to judge you for sticking your entire face into the biggest bowl of kale known to man.

Kale is extraordinarily good for you. According to NPR, kale scores a perfect 1,000 on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, which measures the amount of nutrients per calorie. Full of vitamins A, C and K as well as calcium, kale is one of those food that should always be in your fridge.

Some would argue that it doesn’t taste good. That’s fine. It doesn’t, in raw form. Why do you think people have been making chips out of it instead? You can’t snack on kale like you might a carrot or an apple. This leafy green needs some TLC in order to shine.

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