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Greens: Mostly Kale and Chard


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The doctor wants me to cut way back on meat and the fat that goes along with some meats. Greens are a favorite of mine, and they are eaten frequently. How might I get a "meaty" taste in my greens, perhaps akin to using bacon or other animal fats, without using meat? The taste needn't be a duplicate of the taste of meat, but something that will give a more robust, smokey flavor to the leaves. I tried chipotle peppers and some smoked paprika - the chipotles were nice but I don't always want the heat from the pepper. Smoked paprika was only so-so for my taste. So, any other suggestions?

Thanks!

Shel

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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I've got a small bottle of liquid smoke which I add to soups and things -- you could try that. Marmite also adds depth, it's mostly glutamate.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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My go-to green (I rarely cook anything else these days) is cavolo nero, aka "lacinato" kale (it should be lacianato, Italian for frilly edged). I think it has a nice, umami quality, and it doesn't shrink as much as other greens. I've got a photo and "recipe" on my site (here), but here it is:

Chop an onion, cook in good extra virgin for a few minutes, then add a bunch of cavolo nero cut in chiffonade. Add some water (half a wineglass, as the Italians might say), reduce heat to low, and braise for at least 30 minutes. I think it's even better cooked a little longer, but check for water every so often either way.

Really good with beans, perhaps mounded together on toasted bread, drizzled with more oil, even topped with an egg.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Caramelized onions might help. One possible tip: boil a ham hock in water, and use the cooking liquid but not the hock itself. If you need it to be completely fat-free, chill the stock overnight and skim. Or if you don't want pork, try making a broth from smoked turkey wings. In the same vein, Goya's "Sazon" flavoring powder might give the greens some oomph, as would other dried bouillion products (without adding protein or fat).

On the other hand, if you can have tiny amounts of meat in your greens, get your hands on some tasso (or even turkey tasso). Even a piece the size of your thumb cooked into 8-10 servings will provide lots of flavor. My favorite tasso (pork or turkey) comes from the Best Stop Supermarketin Scott, LA.

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If I'm making greens for vegetarians, I use Morga Vegetable Bouillon Cubes.

ETA: Love Kerry's miso idea, too! I want to try that soon.

Edited by John DePaula (log)

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Is salt a problem too, or just fat? I've taken to making ham stock to flavor beans and greens. I use ham shanks and then de-fat the broth. My husband likes the meat from the shanks for salads, and he adds it back into beans, but I don't miss the meat as long as I have the smoky broth. The broth can be salty, though, so I compensate by not adding a lot of extra salt. If I really want to reduce the salt I soak the shanks in cold water for half an hour and then rinse well. For cooking greens for two people (I like collards) I use about a half cup of the ham broth and reduce it down a bit.

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liquid smoke was already mentioned and works well, but be careful with it. Or use a meat stock, Trade Joe's has little packages of concentrated stock (they look like those catchup packages, just a bit smaller) that are quite good and should not add much - if any - fat. I use those quite often for all kinds of things. They have chicken, beef, and also vegetable.

There's also a weird product, bacon salt. There's no bacon used in making it, but it works well. Again, be careful with dosage. http://www.baconsalt.com/

Some smoked tofu might work also? I dislike tofu, but it should add a smoky flavor.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Use bacon as an herb, not a meat. a few thin strips cooked briefly in the sautee oil will add a background smokiness to a whole dish.

Another source of smoke is lapsang souchong tea. Use as a dry herb, make an infusion, experiment.

A couple of other ingredients high in glutamate are sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese.

Notes from the underbelly

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Kale Chips

I just made this crispy kale for a dinner party last week--very unusual--it was generally liked--even by the Hub, who doesn't love kale as much as I do.

Go easy on the salt & the oil.

I was nervous about it being too bland, & sprinkled it with some Japanese rice seasoning, but everyone said don't do that again! It was better plain.

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  • 1 year later...

I bought cavolo nero (tuscan kale) a few days ago and was not sure what to do with it. My husband suggested kale chips (he had them at a restaurant) so I tried this recipe too. It's delicious and very easy to make. Great little snack for a cocktail party.

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In various Asian cuisines, a variety of ingredients are used to add a meaty fullness to vegetable dishes. Options include soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, yellow soybean sauce (dtow jiow), fermented black beans, dried mushrooms (and their soaking liquid), and chicken stock.

Of course, adding a small amount of ground pork works nicely, too. :raz:

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It's kind of a "cheat", but I usually use liquid smoke when I want that kind of flavor for greens. I've been vegetarian more than half my life, and never grew up eating Southern style greens, so luckily, I guess, it's not a flavor that I usually miss. I find that with certain greens, onions actually hurt rather than help the taste.

As far as people's suggestions for Tuscan kale / cavalo nero / lacinato kale, I really like Suzanne Goin's version from AOC:

http://www.latimes.com/features/la-fow-sos28-2009jan28,0,3039776.story

If done properly, the texture will be a little dry and oily, and not that soft (it's better than it sounds). Last time, I think I blanched it too much, and it was delicious, but a little too soft for me.

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