It’s Easy Being Green

Being green is so easy these days! The grocers are teeming with hearty seasonal greens from collard to mustard to Swiss chard … as well as my favorite, Tuscan Lacinato Kale, the one that’s sometimes called dinosaur kale or black kale.

(Photo from Mountain Valley Seed Company)

This winter crop is packed with vitamins and minerals. Just eating a half cup will stock you up with calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, iron and loads of fiber.

I especially like to use this kale in my recipe for Farro with Hearty Greens, Wild Mushrooms & Goat Cheese. This is a great cold-weather side dish, which works well with other greens, too.

In fact, here’s a tip if you want to make it with Swiss chard. Remove the stems and slice them separately, and slice up the greens thin. Sauté the stems in the olive oil along with the mushrooms, and then proceed with the recipe.

Incorporating greens in a robust homemade soup is another delicious and very satisfying way to enjoy them. My recipe for the classic Tuscan Ribollita Soup is easy to make and perfect for busy schedules. The name of this favorite Italian soup, which is thickened with stale bread, means “twice-boiled”—the soup is traditionally cooked, then reheated the next day. The flavorful olive oil, which is always drizzled on top right before eating, acts like a seasoning, giving the soup a special little kick.

Or how about adding a small handful of kale into your next smoothie? Its vibrant color is sure to get the kids interested!

Eat your greens daily—they’re tasty and good for you! -Kathy

Farro with Hearty Greens, Wild Mushrooms & Goat Cheese
Makes 4 to 6 servings

1/2 cup whole farro grains
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced wild or domestic mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, sliced paper thin
pinch red chili flakes
1 large bunch black kale (lacinato) or other hearty green, torn
1/4 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon
1 1/2 to 3 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre)

To cook the farro: In a medium saucepan, combine farro and water and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer; cook the grain for about 30 minutes, or until very tender, but do not let it become mushy. Add more water if it gets low. Drain the cooked farro and set aside. (You can do this the day before; refrigerate cooked grain.)

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Sauté mushrooms until half cooked, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and chili flakes and sauté for a few seconds. Stir in kale. Add chicken broth and cooked farro, and cook, turning greens several times, until greens are wilted.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze lemon over the dish to brighten flavor. Serve dolloped with goat cheese or grated sexy local cheese.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Ribollita Soup
Makes 6 to 8 servings

3 tablespoons chopped bacon or pancetta
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1 cup diced red potatoes
1/8 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup diced carrot
3/4 cup diced celery
3/4 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
2 cups, packed, torn, dark green kale
4 cups rich chicken broth
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes with juice
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans with liquid
2 cups, packed, rustic Italian bread, preferably stale, torn into bite-size pieces
salt and pepper to taste
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Heat a large soup kettle or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bacon or pancetta and olive oil and cook until 3/4 done. Add onions and potatoes, and cook, stirring often, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the chili flakes, garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring, for about 1 to 2 more minutes.

Add the thyme, kale, chicken broth and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook slowly for about 12 minutes.

Then add the beans and bean liquid and bread. Stir in, and cook for about 2 more minutes or until thickened with the bread. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Ladle into bowls and drizzle liberally with olive oil.

If making a day ahead, soup will be thicker the next day, almost stew-like, but this is the traditional way. If too thick for your liking, thin out with a little chicken stock when reheating.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy Casey on January 4th, 2013  |  Comments Off on It’s Easy Being Green |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recipes, sides, soups

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