We both enjoy beans and greens quite a bit. For those that don't know, you just take canned cannellini beans, cook them with the liquid from the can until it starts to thicken, then add your greens and some chicken broth, maybe a little seasoning too, and cook until the greens are done. It's delicious and filling, but this gets old too if it's your only way of preparing the copious amount of greens that come from a CSA.
So last night, faced with some kale that desperately needed to be used up, we set about to find a new way to prepare greens that we both would enjoy.
Inspired by a recipe we found online for a potato and kale puree, I came up with the dish that follows. It was a big hit with Mariah, and easy to make too.
Baked mashed potatoes with chopped kale
- 2 lbs. potatoes, cut into large pieces (peeled or unpeeled, your choice1)
- one large bunch coarsely chopped kale, about 3-4 cups
- Kosher salt
- 1/2-3/4 cup milk (whole milk is tastiest, other milk is healthier)
- 2-6 Tbsp butter or oil (more butter is tastier, less is healthier -- duh)
- Pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan
Finely chop cooked kale. Pass potatoes through a ricer, or mash with potato masher or wooden spoon. Combine potatoes, kale, milk, and butter or oil in medium bowl. Do not overstir, or your potatoes will become gluey. Add pepper to taste, possibly salt if necessary -- check first.
1You may have heard that it is healthier to leave your potatoes unpeeled. This is a myth. While it is true that the skin is much more nutrient-dense than the flesh of the potato, think about it: the skin is paper-thin, while the flesh makes up something like 99+% of the potato. Sure, the skin is healthier, but do you think it is one hundred times as rich in nutrients? Nuh uh. Now, my family happens to prefer mashed potatoes with the skins, because of the rustic texture and earthy flavor. But if you don't care for it, don't feel compelled to leave them in for the nutrients. The nutritional benefit is insignificant.
To give credit where credit is due, I get the proportions I use for mashed potatoes from Alice Waters' book The Art of Simple Food.
As the main course, we had barbecue-flavored pan-seared chicken thighs. This is a recipe Mariah came up with. It's nothing fancy, but doing it this way will give you very tender flavorful chicken.
Pan-seared barbecue chicken thighs
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
- your favorite barbecue sauce
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
3I use a cast-iron skillet for this, but be warned: It makes quite a mess, and I am pretty sure that the tomato and other acids in the barbecue sauce is bad for your cast-iron unless it is really well-seasoned. If you have a ceramic-coated cast-iron skillet, that's probably ideal.
Update: My wife has pointed out the the chicken thighs we buy are the organic free-range boneless skinless thighs from Wegmans, which may be somewhat smaller than conventional chicken thighs. My comment about "when it looks done, it is done" only applies if your chicken thighs are the same size as the ones I buy... so be warned.