Posts Tagged ‘kale’

What to Do With Leftover Roast Chicken, Part 1

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Since my son was born, I’ve become an even bigger fan of things I can cook in the oven with minimal interventions before or after, so roast chicken is in even heavier rotation than before.  I used to be at a loss for what to do with the leftover bits, but I’ve come up with a strategy and a few options.  We eat the dark meat the night I roast the chicken, since the white meat is more flexible as an ingredient.  Then I save the chicken in a gallon freezer bag with as much juice and good stuff as I can scrape off the bottom of the roasting pan.  The next day I separate the white meat and the oysters (the little bits of meat from underneath the chicken) from the carcass and put them aside.  The carcass and any other bits, globs, or pieces go into a pot to boil with a few quarts of water, salt, peppercorns, some onion or shallot and whatever other aromatic vegetables I have, like celery, fennel, carrots, and/or parsley.   After it boils, I let it simmer for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes, and then I strain out the solids, leaving me with a few quarts of really delicous stock.

I can now make one of the following two meals for two with minimal effort:

Chicken, Avocado and Walnut Salad with Spicy Pumpkin Soup
Hearty Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup

Voila, dinner that no one will complain about.

Chicken, Avocado and Walnut Salad

1 clove garlic, smashed
2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt
4 tbsp walnut oil
4 cups salad greens, washed, carefully dried, and torn into bite sized-pieces
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1 avocado, thinly sliced
2 leftover chicken breasts, diced

Put the garlic, vinegar, and salt in the bottom of a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the walnut oil. Add the salad greens and toss (I use my hands for this.) Top with avocado, walnuts, and chicken.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

1/2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
1 1/4 tsp hot smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
2-3 quarts chicken stock
1 can pumpkin puree
salt and pepper to taste
cream for garnish

In a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan, saute the garlic, paprika and cumin for a minute or two until the raw smell comes off the garlic. Add the stock and the sweet potato, bring to a boil, and simmer until the potato is cooked through. Add pumpkin puree and blend soup together with an immersion blender (or in small batches in a regular blender or food processor, but seriously, just do yourself a favor and get an immersion blender.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a small drizzle of heavy cream in each bowl.

Spicy Sausage, Kale, and White Bean Soup

2 fresh Andouille sausages
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tbsp tomato paste (I buy it in a tube, so I don’t waste it when I just need small amounts.)
1 can white beans, strained and rinsed
2-3 quarts chicken stock
leftover chicken, diced
1 bunch kale
red pepper flakes to taste

Gently heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Squeeze the sausages out of their casing into the pan, raise the heat to medium high, and saute until cooked through, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go. Add garlic and tomato paste and saute for one more minute. Add white beans and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add kale and red pepper flakes, and simmer until kale stems are cooked through, about five minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve. Slices of baguette or other bread grilled in the broiler and rubbed with garlic are a nice accompaniment.

Tomato Sauce with Sausage and Kale

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

This is a home-y sauce which cooks quickly. Very easy, healthy and delicious for a weeknight dinner. The olive oil added as a garnish at the end gives it a sweet and fresh taste.

3 tbsp quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet Italian sausage
1 spicy Italian sausage
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (I like Muir Glen, and I don’t really like anything else…)
1 small pinch dried thyme
1 small bunch of lacinato kale, cut into chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 lb pasta of your choice (fusilli or a similar shape would be good here but you can also use ravioli)
Start your pasta water to boil with plenty of salt. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed, lidded sauté pan over medium-high heat (without the lid for now). Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and swirl the pan to coat. When the oil has heated, squeeze the sausages from their casings into the pan. Sauté for four or five minutes while breaking up the sausages with a wooden spoon. Monitor the heat carefully so that the sausage doesn’t form too much of a fond on the bottom of the pan. When the sausage is just beginning to brown in places, add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 5 more minutes. When the onion is wilted, add the garlic and cook for just about 30 seconds, until the pungent garlic smell mellows just slightly. Pour in the liquid from the whole peeled tomatoes, then squeeze each whole tomato in your hand to crush it before you drop it into the pan. (This squirt-prone operation can be mitigated somewhat by poking a hole with your thumb and one finger to de-pressurize the tomato before you really put the squeeze down. I rarely escape this operation without an errant squirt, so an apron would be a strong recommendation here. This might seem like a complicated process — why not just use diced or puréed tomatoes? Well, somehow they just don’t have the same delicate, slightly brothy-y texture and flavor.)
Now add the thyme and the kale and stir the sauce to combine the ingredients. Salt carefully to taste. Cover the sauce and simmer for about 7 minutes, until the kale is wilted and the sauce is bubbling. As soon as you cover your sauce, check the time you need to cook your pasta, and time it to be done just about the same time as the sauce.
Drain the pasta when it’s cooked to your liking, and spoon it into 4 wide shallow bowls. Divide the sauce on top of the pasta between the 4 bowls. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp of olive oil over each bowl, and grate the Parmigiano on top.
Serves 4.

Brunching Out: A Great Green for Moms

Friday, May 12th, 2006

(originally published on

Brunching with Mom this weekend?

Adding kale to the menu is an unusual, easy, and delicious way to show her you care. It comes in several tasty varieties and has a wide range of beneficial nutrients that are associated with decreased risk of cancer, cataracts, heart disease, arthritis, and emphysema, including anti-oxidants, calcium, and fiber. Not only is it truly a health super-food, but Sautéed Lemon Kale is a great reason to blow off the Eggs Benedict when served with poached eggs and whole-grain toast. It can be tempting to toss aside good nutrition on special occasions, but this is one exceptionally healthy treat that I have come to crave.

Kale comes in several varieties, and any of them will work well in this preparation, although I particularly like the texture of the curly variety. Look for firm, crisp leaves with no signs of wilting or yellowing.

Poached Eggs with Sautéed Lemon Kale and Whole Grain Toast

1 large bunch kale, washed and dried

1 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

4 eggs

1 tbsp white vinegar

4 slices of whole grain bread

Slice the kale horizontally across the bunch into ribbons about ½ inch wide. Discard the tough stems. Cut the garlic into slivers.

Heat olive oil in a large lidded sauté pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers but doesn’t smoke. Add kale. You may need to add it in batches, as the kale will reduce in size as it cooks, and while it may initially look as though there is too much for the pan, if you wait 10-15 seconds you should be able to squeeze it all in. Cover and cook until the kale is sufficiently reduced in size that you can stir it. Remove the lid and sauté as the kale continues to cook down. It’s fine, and in fact, quite tasty, if some of the leaves brown and crisp in places. When you have enough room in the pan, move the kale to the side enough that you can add the garlic in direct contact with the pan. Sauté for several seconds, then stir to combine garlic and kale. Cook to desired done-ness, at least until the stem portions of the leaves become tender and lose their raw taste. Remove from the heat and add the juice of the lemon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toast bread and keep warm.

While you are cooking the kale, bring a medium saucepan containing a depth of about three inches of water to a boil, then reduce the heat to barely a simmer. Add the vinegar to the water. When the kale is done, poach the eggs as follows: gently crack each egg into a saucer or small cup. Lower into the simmering water and slide in the eggs. Immediately turn off the heat and cover. Cook for just under 3 minutes.

On each one of 4 plates, top one slice of toast with one quarter of the Sautéed Lemon Kale and one poached egg. Serve immediately, and pass sea salt and the pepper mill.

Serves 4.