Lately, I’ve been flirting with kale. It’s like the beginning of a love affair. I feel so guilty. My other vegetables may get a little jealous, but kale is oh-so-tempting. It’s cheap, delicious, versatile, and can be a side or a meal. When steaming, it still maintains its hard stalk, but the leaves become soft. Ever heard of kale chips? They’re a healthy alternative to potato chips, and easy to make at that! Also, red wine complements kale more than a little, and God knows I love me some red wine.
Yes, a love affair is definitely on the way. Move over arugula, I’m eating something I can fry.
I have to thank my very good friend Julia for introducing me to the wonder of kale. In fact, last Tuesday we had a little get together and she whipped up this lovely dinner masterpiece.
Kale and Kidney Beans over Rice
- Kale, half a bundle
- Onion, 1 whole white onion (large)
- Kidney beans, half a biggish can
- Garlic, minced, to taste (we added tons)
- Red wine, I’m pretty sure we used a Cabernet Sauvignon, add to taste
- Olive oil, add when needed (we added tons)
- Salt and pepper, to taste (again)
- Rice, brown, cooked
We started out with some leftover cooked rice and put it to the side. If you don’t have some leftover rice, then I highly recommend the Cook in the Bag brown rice. I get the generic store kind, because I’m underpaid, but really any rice will do.
I fried up the chopped onion in a liberal amount of olive oil as Julia rinsed our kale in cold water to wash all the dirt off. You know a vegetable is fresh when it’s still covered in dirt. We steamed the kale for about 10 minutes before throwing it in the large pan of sizzling, spitting olive oil and onion.
Lesson: when taking anything directly from a steaming situation and throwing it into hot oil, make sure to either stand back and wear protective clothing OR make sure the oil isn’t spitting and sizzlingly hot already. Water + hot oil = ouch.
After about 5 minutes frying in the oil, we started adding the stuff that makes it delicious. Kale in of itself is a bitter plant. In my opinion, it’s too plain to stand on its own, so Julia and I added a bunch of minced garlic, red wine (which boils off and only leaves the flavor), salt, and pepper. This recipe is not an exact science. We added everything to taste and, boy, did it taste good!
At the very end, we added the kidney beans and left them in the pan just long enough to warm up. Feel free to add more or less beans than we did.
The beauty of this recipe is in its versatility. It’s wicked easy to substitute anything else for the kidney beans. Also, onions or shallots would do this dish a favor. I’d like to add some lemon juice next time, just to see what happens.