Kale gets a Southern exposure in grits dish

THE WASHINGTON POSTMarch 19, 2014 

VEGGIES13

THE WASHINGTON POST

If collard greens are the new kale (a debatable assertion), then why can't kale be the new collards?

That's what struck me when I saw a recipe for a Southern-style pairing of the trendier greens with black-eyed peas and grits. The idea, in Robin Robertson's new "More Quick-Fix Vegan," makes perfect sense: Any hearty leaves can find a home in this set of flavors, which are good any time of year but especially appealing as we anticipate spring.

The truth is, the trio of greens, beans and grains is as natural in the kitchen as the "three sisters" (corn, squash and beans) are in the garden. And I so often have beans and grains already cooked and in my freezer or fridge that all it takes to put together a well-rounded meal is to quickly stir-fry those greens.

For Robertson's recipe, I made the whole shebang from scratch. It seemed particularly suited to mixing and matching: As well as they work in this combination, those grits could be swapped out for barley or farro or couscous; the black-eyed peas could be replaced by limas or chickpeas or pintos; and the kale could morph into collards - or mustard greens or Swiss chard. The key is to think about just how many varieties of grains, beans and greens there are in the world, to bring them into your kitchen and to start experimenting.

KALE AND BLACK-EYED PEAS WITH SMOKY GRITS

4 servings

3 cups water

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed

1 1/2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton)

1 cup regular grits (do not use quick-cooking or instant)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Leaves from 8 ounces kale, thinly sliced

1/2 cup homemade or no-salt-added vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups cooked or canned black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

Combine the water, salt and 1 teaspoon of the smoked paprika in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in the grits; reduce the heat to medium-low so the mixture is gently bubbling. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the grits have the consistency of creamy oatmeal, about 20 minutes. Add the pepper, taste, and add salt if needed. Cover and keep warm.

Pour the oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and garlic; cover and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the kale, broth, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika and a little salt plus pepper to taste. Cook just until the kale wilts, then stir in the black-eyed peas; cook until the kale is tender and the peas are hot, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Divide the grits among shallow bowls, then top with the kale mixture.

Nutrition per serving: 270 calories, 7 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 7 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service