One of the fun things about getting a weekly delivery of organic produce to you doorstep, is the exciting element of variety and surprise, as well as the challenge of trying to come up with ideas for new ingredients that you wouldn't normally buy on your own. One thing I do like about Dandelion Organic Delivery so far is that they publish their weekly Harvest Box list a few days before actual delivery to give you some time to plan your meals for the week.
For me, the foreign produce item this week was Kale. My family of origin was an iceberg lettuce family. As I got older and grew into my own kitchen, I came to love and embrace the variety of salad greens that exist out there including spinach, arugula, romaine, spring mix and other leafy greens. But I still have never ventured into the darker greens such as kale, mustard, and collard greens. Maybe it's because they are most often served warm and wilted which for the unexceptional cook translates pretty quickly into soggy. So I was excited this week to be challenged in the kitchen by getting familiar with this new (to me) vegetable.
Since I had never prepared Kale before, I decided to start with some recipe websites and researched recipes that had already been tried and reviewed by other readers. I found a basic recipe with a rather favorable rating and adopted some of the comments and my own ideas to come up with an even better version than the original. Below is the creation we arrived at - a nice steamy bowl of sausage, tomatoes and kale, served over white rice for the perfect winter luncheon. I was excited at the amount of flavor that the kale was able to absorb and retain without becoming the soggy wilted mess that I had feared it would.
For sausage, we used Uli's Famous Cajun Brand Andouille Sausage from the Community Food Coop. Uli's is based out of Seattle, Washington and all of their meats are Preservative free and MSG free with no artificial coloring or hormones. Don and I were big fans of the Andouille which paired perfectly with the tomatoes and Kale. Besides a little olive oil and a minced clove of artichoke garlic from our produce box, Don added a little bit of sea salt but I really didn't feel any extra spices were needed.
The recipe itself cooks up in only minutes so get started early on the rice. We are looking forward to our next delivery of Kale to make this special winter treat again!
Sausage, Kale and Tomatoes over Rice
1 cup white rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 links sausage of your choice (recommended Uli's Famous Cajun Brand Andouille Sausage)
1 clove artichoke garlic (or regular garlic), minced
14 ounce can diced plum tomatoes
2 cups kale leaves, rinsed and roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper
Prepare rice in rice cooker or according to package directions.
When rice is about 10 minutes from completion, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once pan is heated through, add olive oil. Remove sausage from casings and crumble into pan. Cook stiring occasionally 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Stir in garlic and heat another 60 seconds until golden. Add tomatoes and kale and heat another 3 to 5 minutes or until the kale is tender.
Serve sausage and tomato mixture over steamed rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.