Southern Braised Kale with Turkey Bacon
Food,  Holiday

Southern Braised kale with Turkey Bacon

This super easy and delicious recipe for Southern Braised Kale with turkey bacon is the perfect accompaniment to your holiday meal. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative or simply a break from the normal greens or cabbage, I highly suggest adding these super greens to your menu! I like to add turkey bacon and beef sausage to this recipe to kick the flavors up a notch, but feel free to omit for a vegetarian side dish!

 



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Southern Braised Kale

 

Before I even get into this recipe I must share that this Southern Braised Kale recipe is my husband Kris’ recipe. He grew up in a house where collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, and cabbage were staples on Sunday after church and holiday gatherings. That was not my lifestyle at all. As a matter of fact, this dish was created in an attempt to convert me to an eater of greens (of which I still am not!).  I instantly fell in love with his Southern Braised Kale recipe! The warm, smokey flavor from the turkey bacon and the savory combination of spices truly changed the way I view greens.

As mentioned, we add turkey bacon, and beef sausage to the recipe as flavor enhancers. But please believe, this braised kale is just as delicious when the meat is omitted. So, if you are looking for a meatless/vegetarian side dish this is still a viable choice. Although this recipe only requires a few ingredients you must take the time to properly clean your kale.

 

Southern Braised Kale with Turkey Bacon

How do you clean kale naturally?

To clean kale naturally, you should start by tearing the kale leaves off the stems and then tearing them into smaller pieces. Add your torn kale to your sink and fill it with hot water.   Give the leaves a good massage with your fingers and shake through the leaves. Drain the water and refill at least 3 times. During the final wash, I like to add a cap full of ACV and salt. Then allow the kale to soak for an hour or so. This helps soften the kale and cuts down on stovetop cook time.

Ingredients needed for Southern Braised Kale?

How to make the best Southern Braised Kale?

Step 1 – Add 2 tbs of coconut oil to a stockpot. Cook your turkey bacon and beef sausage until brown and crispy. Rendering all the fat from the meat. Given that both of these meats contain little to no fat the coconut oil helps add more flavor to the base. Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon ensuring that the drippings from the meat remain in the pot.

Step 2 – Cook chopped onion, garlic, and seasonings in the stockpot until onions are translucent and soft. Ensuring the vegetables absorb the flavors of the meat renderings.

Step 3 – Add chopped kale stems to the pot and cover with water (or chicken broth) and boil until soft.

Step 4 – Add kale and continue to cook until soft.  Season to taste with Tony Chachere’s Seasoning.

Step 5 – Once cooked down add meat and simmer on low.

 

Does kale shrink when sauteed?

Kale has relatively low moisture content and therefore does not shrink as much as other greens and requires a longer cooking time. Except when very young, kale is not particularly pleasant when undercooked and should be served just soft rather than al dente.

Should you keep your kale stems?

Absolutely! Once the kale has been removed from the stems, chop them up and set them aside. They are a great thickening agent to add to your southern braised kale.

How do you remove the bitterness from sauteed kale?

Lemon Juice, minced garlic,  olive oil, and salt are also simple ingredients that can transform the flavor of a bitter kale dish. Cutting the stem of kale and marinating it with olive oil and salt can help reduce bitterness. I prefer to use the juice of one lemon to cut the bitterness in this dish.

What is healthier kale or spinach?

I am often asked which is healthier Kale or spinach (or other versions of greens). The Bottom Line is that both are highly nutritious and associated with several benefits. While kale offers more than twice the amount of vitamin C as spinach, spinach provides more folate and vitamins A and K. Check out my Sautéed Spinach with Roasted Butternut Squash and Broccoli recipe and fall in love with spinach! 

I hope you enjoyed this recipe for Souther Braised Kale! If you make this recipe please tag me @gristleandgossip #gristleandgosssip on INSTAGRAMFACEBOOK, or PINTEREST.  I’d love to hear all about your creative modifications and any suggestions or questions that you have below in the comments section!

 


Southern Braised Kale

Easy Southern Braised Kale with Turkey Bacon

This super easy and delicious recipe for Southern Braised Kale with turkey bacon is the perfect accompaniment to your holiday meal. If you're looking for a healthy alternative or simply a break from the normal greens or cabbage, I highlight suggest adding these super greens to your menu! I like to add turkey bacon and beef sausage to this recipe to kick the flavors up a notch, but feel free to omit for a vegetarian side dish!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Kale Soak Time 1 hr
Course dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 5 Bushels Fresh Kale (yields about 8 cups) Removed from stem, washed, and chopped
  • 2 Cups Kale Stems, chopped
  • 1 cup Chopped Turkey Bacon omit for vegetarian option
  • 1 cup Chopped Beef Sausage omit for vegetarian option
  • 3 Tbs Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Minced garlic
  • 1 Lemon Juice of one lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Tony Chachere Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Cups Water chicken or veggie broth may be used here

Instructions
 

Prepping Your Kale

  • Tear the kale leaves off the stem and then tear them into smaller pieces. Add your prepared kale to your sink and fill it with hot water.   Give the leaves a good massage with your fingers and really shake through the leaves. Drain the water and refill at least 3 times. During the final wash, I like to add a cap full of ACV and salt and allow the kale to soak for an hour or so. This helps soften the kale and cuts down on stovetop cook time.

Kale Base

  • Cook your turkey bacon and beef sausage until brown and crispy. Rendering all the fat from the meat. Given that both of these meats contain little to no fat the coconut oil really helps add more flavor to the base. Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon ensuring that the drippings from the meat remain in the pot.
  • Add 2 tbs of coconut oil to a stockpot. Brown chopped onion, garlic, and seasonings in the stockpot until onions are translucent and soft. Ensuring the vegetables absorb the flavors of the meat renderings.
  • Add chopped kale stems to the pot and cover with 2 cups of water (or chicken broth) and boil until soft. about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Should water get low, add more.
  • Add kale and continue to cook until soft.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow simmering for 1 hour.
  • Once cooked down add meat and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
Keyword healthy side dish, Holiday Side Dish, Roasted quinoa skillet with spinach and kale, Sauteed Kale, Southern Braised Kale, thanksgiving side dish, vegan side dish, vegetarian friendly

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