This is something that I will NEVER again make just for me. If I'm doing something for someone else, I could spend all day on it without giving it a second thought. My family thinks I'm crazy when I bake sugar cookies at Christmastime. I'll spend forever painstakingly making and filling designs using lobster picks, x-acto knives, tweezers, paintbrushes, whatever helps me get the sugar crystals, coconut, candies, etc. where I want them. When it comes to cooking for just me, I want to be in and out of the kitchen, so caramelizing is NOT the way to go! To do it properly takes time. The results are totally worth it, but it takes time.
Because I made this with a whole bunch of kale (enough to feed 4-5), I had plenty of leftovers and actually enjoyed it even more the second time around. Of course, that may have been a matter of not having just spent all that time making it.
1/2 c pine nuts
1 T butter
Pinch of salt
1/2 c white wine
1 lg bunch kale
1/4 c dried cranberries
1/2 t crushed red pepper
In a small dry pan over medium heat, slowly toast your pine nuts, being sure to stir frequently so they don't scorch. Once browned, remove them from the pan to stop them from cooking more, and set aside.
Slice the shallots very thin. I did mine in strips, but you can certainly slice them into rings if you like.
Wash and chop the kale, removing any large woody stems.
Now pull up a chair and get comfy. Heat the butter over medium heat, and once it gets a little foamy, add the shallots. Stir frequently until until the shallots start to take on some color and dry out a bit, then lower the heat a little, add a sprinkle of salt to draw out the liquid, and continue stirring. If they start to stick and you feel like you don't have enough butter, add a splash of your wine and continue until the shallots are a deep golden color.
|Ha, color coordinated!|
|Starting to get some nice color|
Add the wine to the pan, along with a few handfuls of the kale, stirring to coat the kale. That will give you room to add the rest of the kale, again stirring to coat.
Greens always start off towering over your pot but quickly wilt down with a little liquid assistance.
Let everything simmer for a few minutes to give the wine a chance to permeate and start to concentrate, then add the cranberries and crushed red pepper.
Lower the heat and put a lid on the pot, letting it continue to cook to your desired tenderness. Some people like their greens practically melted. I like mine to still have a little fight left in them. ;)
Just before serving, add the pine nuts to the party.
This was a great side for a change of pace. As much as I love kale, for some reason, I have never thought to use it on its own before ... except when making kale chips. It has always been mixed with artichokes or used in a spinach pie type application, etc. I have never served it as a side like spinach. My one disappointment with this dish was that all of the color washed out of the shallots. Don't get me wrong, I won't skip caramelizing them when I make this again. Caramelizing is not just about color! It brings out a sweetness from onions and shallots, so it's a matter of flavor as well. I was just sad to see that they looked more like Asian noodles at the end.