Here is my recipe and some photos:
1 bunch kale, stemmed and washed in two changes of water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1/2 yellow sweet pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 # white beans, picked over and soaked for at least four hours and drained (I soak over-night and then do a quick boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes with a piece of Kombu before draining to help reduce the gas forming propensity of beans)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste, dissolved in 1 cup water
4 cups additional water
1-2 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup (I used grade D maple syrup from a local source)
Salt (scant or to taste) and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the kale. Blanch for two minutes, then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain, squeeze out water and cut into ribbons. Set aside. (See my photos of this process below - I will try skipping this step next time.)
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large ovenproof casserole. Add the onion, carrots pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the dissolved tomato paste, and bring to a simmer.
3. Add the drained beans, the remaining water, maple syrup, salt and pepper.. Stir in the kale, bring to a simmer, cover and place in the oven. Bake 3-5 hours until the beans are tender and creamy. Taste and adjust salt and/or sweetner.
Note: Make sure that the beans come to a simmer on top of the stove before placing them in the oven. Do not use old beans, which will not soften no matter how long you simmer them. If the beans do not soften in the oven after a couple of hours, raise the heat to 300 degrees. If you live at a high altitude, raise the oven temperature and let the the beans bake for longer.
Yield: Serves 10-12.
(Photo: Vegetables and traditional bean pot)
(Photo: Blanching the kale - first I removed the large tough stems and chopped the kale leaves - then blanched the chopped kale in boiling water inside a colander in the smaller pan in front on the left, transferring to the colander in the stockpot on the right containing ice water, then draining the cooled kale and transferring to the large stock pot in the back on the left. Repeat, repeat. This back and forth was way too cumbersome, so next time I will blanch whole leaves first in a big pot, transfer to a sink filled with ice water, and then chop (like the original directions said to do). However, I may even skip this step entirely next time to see if it makes any difference in final taste and texture of the kale.)
(Photo: Kale, beans, etc in the large stock pot heating up before transferring to an oven-proof baking container.)
(Photo: Beans etc transferred to the bean pot. This whole recipe needed a second dish, too. Cutting the recipe in half would fill this bean pot just perfectly.)
(Both pots almost ready to go into the oven.)
(Photo: Both pots in the oven, complete with their lids. Although I intuitively thought I should cover these pots, I had to read the original recipe 3 times to see where it said to cover them!)
These are great hot, warm, room temperature, and also cold! I have already sampled them at each stage, including right out of the refrigerator for breakfast this morning. :-)
Another great way to use a bunch of kale! Enjoy. :-)
Where kale is more than decoration on my plate, including Super Bowl Sunday!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD