Kale has come in for some good press over the past decade, and quite rightly so, given the incredible health benefits and fabulous flavour.
Port-roasted spatchcock chicken with kale and green lentils (serves 4)
2 red onions
30g porcini mushrooms
2 smoked-bacon rashers
500ml chicken stock
400g green lentils
2 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
1 spatchcock chicken
50ml olive oil
180g kale, carefully trimmed
Preheat your oven to 200°C/390°F/gas mark 6. Peel and roughly chop the onions and add to a large roasting pan. Sprinkle over the porcini mushrooms and chopped bacon and pour over the Port and chicken stock. Add the green lentils, rosemary and thyme and stir well. Put the spatchcock chicken on top and then pour over the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 45 minutes or until the juices run clear.
Ten minutes before the chicken is ready, steam the kale until just tender and add to the pan from the oven.
Carve the chicken and divide between plates. Serve immediately.
More ways with kale
Kale and bacon pearl-barley risotto
Sweat an onion in a heavy-based pan with olive oil. Add a crushed clove of garlic and 2 finely sliced rashers of smoked bacon. Fry for a minute or so and then add a large mug of pearl barley to the pan. Stir well and add a glass of white wine. Allow the liquid to absorb before adding 2½ mugs of boiled water and 2 vegetable-stock cubes.
Add a sprig each of rosemary and thyme and simmer for 45 minutes, before dropping in a few handfuls of kale. Simmer for a further 10 minutes or until tender. Add a table-spoon of butter and a handful of grated Parmesan and stir.
Put a lid on the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Pour into bowls and grate a little lemon zest and Parmesan over it, plus a squeeze of lemon and some black pepper. Delicious with a pile of dressed rocket leaves on top.
Kale, pomegranate and quinoa warm winter salad
Trim 3 handfuls of kale so that there are no stalky pieces remaining, blanch and drain well. Roast slices of butternut squash in chilli oil until tender. Add the kale, butternut squash, the seeds from one pomegranate and a scattering of pumpkin seeds to a bowl. Drizzle over a dressing made by combining 50ml olive oil, 50ml apple-cider vinegar, a teaspoon tahini and a squeeze of lime juice.
Kale-pesto drizzled sausages with mascarpone mash
Process 3 handfuls of kale, 100g Parmesan, juice and zest from one lemon, 25g pine nuts, 25g walnuts, 100ml olive oil and generous seasoning. Blitz to a coarse paste. Grill your favourite sausages and serve with mashed potatoes that have a good dollop of mascarpone stirred through and drizzle over the kale pesto.