Kale & Bacon

Kale & Bacon | popularpaleo.comI’m going there and shamelessly cooking a perfectly healthy leafy green vegetable in bacon fat… and topping it with bacon as well.  Not to worry, kale can take it.  The same thing that makes kale a bit of a challenge to chew in salad, makes it ideal for sautéeing. Those greens hold up very well against fat and heat so you can get away with a rich, savory side like the one I’m making here.

When I make bacon I always grind a bunch of fresh black pepper on while it cooks. Pepper and bacon love each other and I see no reason to stand in the way of such a beautiful relationship. Since I snack on bacon most days, I like the extra flavor. I also like the boost it gives this dish.

This fast and easy side gives you all the benefits of one of the best foods you can eat (kale) and all the bacony baconness of bacon. This is enough to feed two hungry adults… and one child trying to be brave. Modify as needed.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bunch fresh kale, stem removed and chopped
  • 1/2 a small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • heavy pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of bacon fat
  • 5-6 slices of bacon, chopped into bits

Prep:
Preheat a large sauté pan and add a couple generous tablespoons of bacon fat.

Rinse and chop the kale, dice half a small onion, mince the garlic, chop the precooked bacon.

When the pan comes to temp, add the onions, kale and garlic. Put the minced garlic on top of the kale–if it goes in first, it will burn long before the kale has wilted enough to eat.

Starting kale | popularpaleo.com

When the kale cooks down a bit, add the salt and nutmeg. If using nutmeg on greens is new to you, then this will be a treat. It’s the trick good cooks everywhere use to highlight the earthy, bitter flavors of greens with this prep method. It’s classic gourmet cooking! Be careful with your “pinch” though. Nutmeg is very strong. We are looking to accent the kale, not dominate it. If your veggies smell like onions and pumpkin pie, you’ve gone too far.  I prefer to use the actual nut and grinder for quality and portion control purposes, but ground nutmeg would work too if it’s what you have on hand.

Toss the kale often and sauté until the leaves have broken down to a consistency that looks like what you’d want to eat.  I don’t like my cooked greens too soft, so I probably stop these slightly short of what others might prefer.

Just before transferring to a serving bowl, toss the chopped bacon into the kale to warm.  It’s now ready to eat!

If you want to fancy this up, trade out the regular onion for shallots, pearl onions, or cippolinis. You can also add some red chili flakes, mushrooms, chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, or top with goat cheese… you get the idea, right?  There’s a lot you could do with this and still stay on the Paleo track!

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