Two thanksgivings ago, I made a bread pudding as our stuffing for thanksgiving. It was delicious, rich, cheesy, bready… but it wasn’t exactly stuffing. So this year, I went the opposite direction and found a stuffing without any cheese, yet it was still moist and flavorful. Kale and caramelized onion stuffing from the Smitten Kitchen. In the version I cooked up, I used slightly less olive oil, added a bag of sliced cremini mushrooms, and went the vegetable broth route. It was awesome and the caramelized onions were so so good.
First, I shaved off the crust of the sourdough loaf and cut it up to toast. It was a few days old and quite hard to get the crust off actually, but in the end you couldn’t tell at all.
I actually caramelized the onions the day before I put together the stuffing since they take so long to cook down.
On thanksgiving I finished assembling the stuffing and baked it. So much delicious kale, mushrooms and onions!
Kale is delicious, as I’ve mentioned before. Early in 2011 I started reading about making kale chips / crisps and tried it myself. Using my oven, they came out tasty but you had to eat them right away or they didn’t stay all that crispy. Fast forward to now. As a gift this year, I got a Nesco food dehydrator. Technically, I got it to make my dog sweet potato chews, which are quite pricey to buy. I will try to make those soon and post my results. My food dehydrator is simple, with just an off and on switch, no temperature settings that many dehydrators seem to have. I wasn’t able to find out how long I should dry the kale, so I had to experiment. I tried making both the curly and flat leaf kale and I found that the curly leaf kale definitely tastes better.
Kale crisps recipe
- Curly leaf kale
- Olive oil
- Spices – salt and pepper are a must. Try also adding paprika or your other favorite spice blend.
Rinse kale thoroughly. Make sure to check the underside of the leaves for any bugs. Tear it into pieces about 1.5 – 2 inches. Don’t bother with the small pieces on the stems because they will wither away and just look like crumbs. Dry the kale – a salad spinner works well for this.
Put about half of the kale into a large bowl. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil and add some spices. Roll up your sleeves and use your hands to knead the kale to get the oil to coat the kale leaves. I found that using a spoon didn’t coat the leaves well enough. After you have kneaded in the oil, the kale will have wilted a bit and now you can put the other half of the kale in. If you had plenty of oil already, you can just continue to knead to spread the oil. If needed, add another drizzle of oil. Continue to add spices to taste.
After the oil and spices are spread, arrange the kale on the dehydrator trays. Don’t layer too much, but you can definitely crowd it on the trays.
Then, turn on the dehydrator. After about 3 hours, the kale should be done!
Store in an air tight container and enjoy!
So after making kale lasagna this week, we ended up with way more kale than we needed. I think we bought quadruple what the recipe called for and I used half of it in the lasagna.
Recently I’d seen recipes for something called “kale chips”. There are plenty of examples if you google it. All of the recipes claim them to be very, very good.
Tonight, I put that claim to the test. The process:
- Clean and dry the kale. I used my salad spinner to dry it.
- Take out the ribs of the kale and tear it into pieces (2” is generally recommended)
- Coat with olive oil and spices. I used my olive oil cooking spray because it was easier to coat the pieces. It’s probably tastier with real olive oil. I sprinkled salt and paprika on the pieces. I also read about people using seasoning salt, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes… etc.
- Spread in a thin layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven. I read from anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. I kept pulling it out to check on the crispiness because the kale should get crispy. I think my layer was too thick because some pieces were done way before others and I had to pull them out early.
- Eat away!
I found that the kale should be crispy, if you tried to eat it before it was crispy it was somewhat difficult to chew. The saltiness was nice if you are a person that likes salty snacks. You don’t really get too much of the kale bitterness after it’s baked.
I baked up an entire head of kale which was too much for two people in one night. We’ll see if it keeps until tomorrow!