Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Slow-Cooked Kale and Ham


A Two for Tuesday Recipe 
I don't know about you but sometimes I may order a meal because of the sides it comes with.  I recently had a delicious kale cooked with ham at a local eatery that was out of this world. So, of course,  I set out to recreate the kale I had and I am really thrilled with how delicious it was. My version has a wonderfully smokey scent and the taste ... hammy with hints of bacon ... is comfort food all the way. Warm, and hammy, it's a perfect side dish.  Because this is a slow cooked kale, the bitterness that turns some folks off of kale, disappears and the kale itself takes on a slightly spicy taste that is simply amazing. If you have your doubts about kale, this recipe may turn you into a fan!

1- 1 pound bag of kale
2 quarts of ham stock*
1- 2 ham hocks
8 ounces of  ham steak, diced
1 package of center cut bacon*, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 or more Thai chilies (optional), cut in half and lightly smashed

Preheat oven at 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil, and layout bacon
slices in one layer. Bake for 17 minutes. Allow to cool, chop. You can add a tablespoon of the bacon dripping into the slow cooker for extra flavor.
Rinse your kale, place all the ingredients in the slow cooker.
Cook on high for 4 hours or 8 hours on low.

Serve with your favorite meal. ENJOY!

*Recipe tip:
If you don't have or can't find ham stock, you can use ham bouillon powder. Just be aware that you may want to lower the salt.  Taste the liquid half way through the cooking time and then add the salt to adjust to your preference.
You can substitute the center cut bacon with turkey bacon.  I've made this recipe both ways and it's delicious regardless of which type of bacon you use.
Turn this recipe into a meal by doubling the amount of dice ham and adding corkscrew or rotini pasta.
Usually, there is a lot of liquid left over. Don't throw it out! Freeze it and use it in your next soup or chili or when you make this recipe again.


  1. We are making this tomorrow. We only have one kind of bacon though here in Greece:)
    We will also substitute the Kale with regular (Roman) lettuce, as Kale is very rare. The reason? (Historical background follows) Kale was one of the top consumed vegetables during the WW2 occupation (by the Germans), because very little stuff were available for eating. So it kin' of had/has a 'bad name' since it was related to dark times for our people:)
    We're also thinking of adding the Greek egg-lemon sauce in this, so we'll let you know how it turned out!:)

    1. I would recommend using arugula or spinach or beets greens. The romaine will not hold up well to slow-cooking, I don't think. I am curious as to how the egg-lemon sauce will taste! Looking forward to hearing how it all turns out.

  2. Hi Jackie!
    Well we cooked it yesterday in a pot at low heat for about 3 hours. It was AMAZING!
    We used the Roman lettuce (didn't see your reply before starting to cook), we just didn't add the lettuce from the beginning.
    We also added the Greek egg-lemon sauce at the end (as it is done always in Greek dishes that require it). The sauce blended all the flavours and gave that fluffy cream (that similar Greek dishes have) which was amazing! We don't know how it would be with Kale, since it's bitter than lettuce.
    Thank you for the tip of replacing Kale with beet greens(love them), arugula or spinach. We will try those when we cook this again (very soon!) and this time we won't add the sauce to see it 'll turn out.
    Definitely a superb yummy recipe Jackie, very close to traditional hearty food we cook here! Thank you for sharing it!!!

    1. Thank you for coming back and commenting on the recipe. I am thrilled that you enjoyed it, I am going to have to try it with the egg-lemon sauce when I make it again. I think it would pair very well. The one thing about kale, is that when it cooks it loses that bitterness that it has when raw. It really does take on a new flavor!
      Since I make a very big batch, I use it through the week and I also add it to my breakfast scrambled eggs, or with a fried egg, in pasta (so good), over rice or grains. One of my favorites!