So I am growing kale this year for the first time…and this week, I ate kale for the first time (at least that I am aware of). It all started earlier this spring when I was buying lettuce seedlings for the garden. I was lured in to buying kale as well…only $1 for a 6 pack, and it just looked so fresh and green! Especially after this long winter we just had. Again, I’d never had kale before, but have heard good things about it being healthy and thought it was worth a try for the price. And so, it’s been growing, and growing, and growing the past 2 months while I’ve been doing nothing with it, except cutting off the leaves after they finally turn yellow and throwing them away…until this week!
The problem was that I had no idea what to do with it. My first thought was to search Pinterest for recipes, but quite frankly, most of the pictures looked rather unappealing….until I saw this one! Kale mashed potatoes! First, the picture actually looked appetizing. And second, I figured if the kale turned out to be a bit too healthy or green for my liking, it could be easily disguised with cheddar cheese and bacon! Lets be honest, the recipe had me at “sauté in rendered bacon fat.” Terrible I know, but I am my father’s daughter: a bacon girl, through and through. And so I give you KALE MASHED POTATOES!
Here is how I made them. Basically just the way my mom taught me to make mashed potatoes with a few additions.
You will need the following:
6 to 8 small to medium russet potatoes (or 3 to 4 large)
4 to strips of bacon
1/4 cup diced onion
4 leaves of kale, chopped in thin strips
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons of butter
Milk or half & half (I just use whatever we have)
Seasoned salt (I used Penzey’s Forward! – Lawry’s is fine too)
Fresh ground black pepper
1. Wash, peel, and slice potatoes into approximately half inch pieces. Honestly the smaller the pieces, the better. Just make sure they are all about the same size. This may take a bit more time up front, but will save you even more boiling time on the back end. Plus, the smaller pieces are easier if you mash with a ricer.
2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and add water until they are just barely covered. Boil on high approx. 15 min (depending on size of potatoes) until they are tender. I usually test by sticking a fork in them. If they flake apart easily, they are done.
3. While potatoes are boiling, fry the bacon over medium heat. When bacon is done, crumble and set aside. Sauté onions for 3 to 5 min in rendered bacon fat in the same pan. Then add the kale and garlic and sauté another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. When potatoes are finished cooking, strain in a colander to remove as much water as possible. Mash using your gadget of choice. Sometimes I use an old fashioned hand potato masher, sometimes I use my ricer, and sometimes I use my hand mixer, depending on what I’m in the mood for. You end up with coarse mashed potatoes with a hand masher, smooth and creamy with a ricer, and fluffy with the hand mixer.
5. Add butter and approximately 1 tablespoon of milk at a time, mashing in between until you achieve your desired consistency. Season to taste with seasoned salt and pepper.
6. Stir in cheese, bacon, and the kale, onion, and garlic mixture
Have a great weekend!