Kale, that strange vegetable; spinach on steroids, chewy chard, bitter cabbage…healthy, virtuous, austere, dark. A hard sell, paired as it often is with mentions of brown rice and winter soups.
Not that I knew, because we don´t have kale in Spain, as far as I can tell. I can sometimes find it in supermarkets in Aberdeen, and when I do, I bring home whole armfuls.
I usually gave it the pan-steam treatment, and it worked well, but because it´s a sturdy old thing and needs longer cooking than other greens, now I use the pressure cooker.
Method A is the ultra-organized, grown-up thing which I use for cooking my supermarket sweep in one go. I can fit three 400 gr. bunches in my 6 litre cooker. Cut out the rib, rip the leaves, wash them, throw them into the pressure cooker with a cup of water and give it five minutes under high pressure.
Let them cool and then freeze part, put part away in the fridge, and perhaps have the rest right away.
Method B is for a single bunch, and works just as well with any green, but you will have to adjust the cooking time.
Heat oil, add a crushed garlic clove and some cumin seeds, and as soon as the garlic dances, throw in a can of chickpeas or beans of your choice, liquid and all. Add the cleaned kale, salt, and give it five minutes under pressure.
Open the cooker and tweak it for salt. A lump of butter and a squeeze of lemon will be very welcome. Serve with bread and a bottle of hot, olive oil, a bowl of yogurt or ricotta, and mind you soak up the pot likker.
Needless to say, bacon, sausage, chorizo, etc, will all go very well indeed with this, so go ahead and add them at the beginning.
If you want it more soupy then simply add more water or broth.
Once you have your steamed metod A kale done, you can simply add it to anything you like, on the spur of the moment. It can be sauteed with a bit of garlic, pine nuts and raisins added at the end, perhaps a dash of pimentón. This is great on polenta, with a poached egg on top, but it´s pretty great in pasta, on pizzas and inside pies, in soups, or bean dishes, etc etc.
If imagination fails, you can always go for the brown rice, of course.