PATRICK RYAN | Port Fonda
By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA
Why kale? “I love to cook and eat kale for the holidays. I’ve made it for the last five or six years. It wouldn’t be something I’d think would go over so well but (my family) really, really loved it. It’s kind of a base recipe, like a lot of them, but you can customize or tailor it to your wants or needs.”
Do you think of kale as a Thanksgiving food? “Kale is getting really popular; like, you see kale chips. You see the supergreens in all the stores right now. It’s just really, really good for you. (This recipe) is just really the addition of the smoked turkey for Thanksgiving. I’ve made it a lot of different ways for all kinds of occasions.”
Least favorite Thanksgiving side dish: “I’m not into the sweet potato and marshmallow type of thing.”
Best holiday advice: “I am famous for making these occasions very, very easy. I like them to be no pressure and no stress. That’s why they have a Butterball Hotline. So I like to make things you don’t have to monitor too much or watch over. I’ve got enough pressure and stress at the job, so I try to make the holidays nice and easy and cool.”
How to quickly de-stem greens: Instead of using a knife to stem kale, hold leaf in one hand and use the other to rip it away from the stalk.
Braised Kale With Smoked Turkey
Makes 12 servings
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into half-moon slivers
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the blade of a knife
3 bunches dinosaur, cavolo nero, Tuscan, Lacinato or black kale, cleaned and stemmed
1 smoked fully cooked turkey leg (Ryan prefers Ball’s Smokehouse brand, available at Price Chopper and Hen House supermarkets, sold 2 drumsticks per package)
3 cups chicken stock (or turkey stock, if you have it)
1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
In a heavy-bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute the onions and garlic until light brown and caramelized. Add the kale and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until it is coated in oil and has turned darker in color; the onions and garlic should also turn nice and brown. The longer and slower you go, the deeper and richer the flavor will be.
Add the whole turkey leg, chicken stock, pepper flakes and a little salt; place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and simmer on low(ish) heat until most of the stock has been reduced and absorbed into the kale and the turkey leg meat is coming off the bone, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the turkey leg. Remove skin if desired and pick the meat off the bone, adding back to the kale. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary.
Per serving: 241 calories (73 percent from fat), 21 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), 25 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams protein, 46 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.