While kale is being proclaimed by some as the ‘newest superfood’, it has been cultivated in Europe for over 2,000 years, where it was the most widely eaten green vegetable until the Middle Ages.
Belonging to the Brassica family, kale is known botanically as
Brassica oleracea variety acephala which translates to mean ‘cabbage of the vegetable garden without a head.’
Kale has long been important in colder climates as it frost resistance.
For the home gardener it is an easy crop to grow and there are a number of varieties to choose from. For more information about growing kale and buying seeds check out Kings Seeds.
If you are looking to buy kale, health food stores and farmers’
markets are the best places to look.
There are lots of reasons that kale is attracting so much attention, including that it is high in fibre, low in kilojoules and has no fat. It also aids digestion and is full of nutrients including vitamins A, C and K, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium and antioxidants.
Toulouse Sausage, Kale & Bean Stew
I used Toulouse sausages from Holly Bacon. These breakfast-sized
sausages are gluten-, dairy- and preservative-free and are simply made from coarsely ground pork, salt and spices.
½ cup dried white beans, such as haricot, lima or cannellini beans, soaked overnight
1 tbsp olive oil
8 Holly Toulouse sausages
2 medium (about 150g each) carrots, roughly chopped
2 small fennel bulbs, sliced
1 large leek, sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp dried sage
1L vegetable or chicken stock
440g can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 bunch (about 250g) curly kale, stems removed and discarded, leaves chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
crusty bread or rolls, to serve
1 Drain beans, place in a saucepan and pour over cold water to cover by about 2.5cm. Place over a medium heat, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until beans are tender. Drain and set aside.
2 Heat oil in a large saucepan, add sausages and cook for 4-5 minutes each side or browned and cooked through, remove and set aside.
3 Add carrots, fennel, leek and celery to pan, cover and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables start to
soften. Add garlic and sage and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
4 Cut sausages into pieces. Add beans and sausages to pan, then stir in stock, tomatoes and tomato paste, cover and bring to the boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until carrots are just tender. Add kale and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes longer or until kale wilts.
5 Ladle into bowls and accompany with bread or rolls.
Happy cooking and eating.
Recipe by Rachel Blackmore
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Another recipe you might like to try using Holly Toulouse sausages: