Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Russian kale, lentils and sausage
I am fortunate to have friends at The Heal Project which is where it came from. The kale was left over after they were preparing fields for new crops. Lucky me! I wasn't sure what to do with it but figured I would be able to muster something up.
Russian kale is flat and leafy; it almost looks like lettuce you would use for salad. Kale is rich in beta carotene, vitamins K and C and rich in calcium so when it comes to healthy, it fits the bill. Give it a wash to get rid of any dirt and cut into small pieces or slices. I like to let it soak in water for about 5 minutes and then lift it out of the water to keep the dirt at the bottom of the bowl.
When deciding how to prepare it, I thought about how I might use spinach. I had some garlic and herb beef sausage from Markegard Family Grass-fed in the freezer and lentils in the pantry. Pine nuts seemed like a nice addition so I toasted some of those as well.
This meal was more of a "put together the different parts" sort of dish. So, mix and match; use what you have but make sure to eat your veggies. I do think it was an excellent combination of flavors. Enjoy!
Russian Kale, Lentils and Sausage
Cook the kale. Use this blog post as a guide to how to cook kale. You could use any kind or even chard.
Cook the lentils. I used green lentils (which are closer to brown but that is what they are called). Add 1 cup of rinsed lentils to 3 cups of water or broth with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook about 30 minutes or until water is absorbed and lentils are soft. I probably only used 2 cups in the dish and saved the rest.
Cook the sausage. Cook 1 pound of sausage either in a saute pan or on the grill. Leave the casing on so it's easier to slice. Drain any fat that accumulates in the pan. To make the dish vegetarian, leave it out. Let it cool, then slice into 1" pieces.
Toast the pine nuts. Some people swear by the oven or toaster oven but for me, personally, I always use a regular saute pan without any added oil. I use a medium to low heat and shake the pan every few minutes until they are golden and fragrant. For this dish, I used about 1/2 cup of pine nuts.
Assemble the dish. It couldn't be easier. Take all of the ingredients and mix in a bowl. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings by adding salt and pepper. You can also add 1 tablespoon of a good quality olive oil. Best served warm.