Braised Kale With Pork And Onions

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Kale salad

Kale salad (Photo credit: Salim Virji)

[For the Orthodox Christians among us, this is obviously NOT a fasting recipe!]

Most of us old Southerners had kale when we were growing up. Mostly it was just boiled forever with some fatback. Then you poured some white vinegar over it and chowed down. If you were good you might get some cornbread to sop up the pot likker. Not bad.

However – there are better ways to do this stuff. This is one of the latest health food crazes. But this version will NOT make a “food-Nazi” very happy.

 1  bag  kale, or 2 bunches, or a little over a pound
 6  1/4” thick hog jowl  slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces  
 2  chopped onions
 1/4  cup  red wine vinegar
 6  drops  Tabasco sauce

Simple ingredients to get a superb result.

Chop up the kale, removing the big stems and cook in a big pot of salted water for 10 minutes. Don’t be shy with the salt. Drain and set aside. Wipe out the pot and use for the next step.

Cook the hog jowl down until it is getting crisp – about 5 minutes. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon. Don’t burn it. Don’t be concerned that there will be some sticky residue in the pot – it will get used. There are those who use bacon for this step. Well, you can. Not as good as the curing medium would obscure some very nice flavors.

While the hog jowl is cooking down chop up a couple of decent sized onions. The sweets are the best. Vidalias when you can get them. Some other sweet if you can’t. Dump the onions in with the pork and continue at a good sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they start getting tender. Add the kale and sauté about 10 minutes and the greens start getting tender. If you stir a lot with the wooden spoon all of the nice brown stuff in the bottom of the pot should be cleared up and incorporated.

Original Tabasco red pepper sauce

Original Tabasco red pepper sauce (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cover and cook for about 15 minutes on low heat. Stir often. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the red wine vinegar. Do not use the cheapest junk in the store. Use a good grade of red wine vinegar and the flavor will be much better for it. Stir in about 6 drop of good Tabasco sauce. Don’t overdo the hot sauce or the flavor will be wrong.

This can be a side dish for four or a main dish for two. Yes, it is that good. Not your mama’s kale.

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