Kortni’s Kitchen: Sweet Kale

Cooked kale with dried cranberries, apples and lemon grass

Kortni’s Kitchen: Kale

Kale is not a new food, but it is new to the kitchen table. This leafy green is great for you and your whole family. Make sure you cook it correctly, because kale also packs a pretty bitter punch. Other things like broccoli and coffee have a very bitter flavor compound. Some people don’t even notice it and can drink coffee black or eat raw broccoli. Other people notice it and have to add something to their coffee or cook the broccoli; this cuts the bitter flavor. That is what I did with kale. I personally can taste bitterness to the point that I can’t drink coffee without wanting to spit it out, no matter how disguised it is. I also can’t eat kale raw due to the bitter component. Sautéing the kale releases the bitter flavor and mellows it out, making it taste just like any other leafy green.

Ingredients: serves 4

1 head of kale Julianne

2 Fuji apples (or any sweet apple you enjoy) large, diced

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup butter

1 stock of lemon grass cut in rounds


Butter melting in a pan

Kortni’s Kitchen: Kale

1. First, make sure you have a large enough pan to fit all the kale in at once. It will shrink up considerably by the end, so don’t base your serving size on the raw kale. Get the butter fully melted, then add all the kale to the pan. Gently mix the kale and butter so it turns a vibrant shade of green.

Fresh kale in a pan

Kortni’s Kitchen: Kale

  • You can cut your kale any way you would like. I cut mine in long strips. Your goal is to have bite-size pieces.
  • I use butter instead of olive oil because it gives the kale a great, fatty flavor. Olive oil works also if you want a healthier version, but I would only coat the pan with it or you will have oily kale, not crispy.
  • Kale may be a new food for your kitchen. Here is a glimpse into its best qualities.
Kale cooking in a pan

Kortni’s Kitchen: Kale

2. Next, add the lemon grass and let the kale cook down. It should be starting to shrink in size considerably.

Lemon grass and dried cranberries cooking in the pan with kale

Kortni’s Kitchen: Kale

  • This was the first time I used lemon grass. It is not a widely used household item, but if you ever pick it up just smell it and you will know why it is something great to have up your sleeve. The great lemon flavor it provides has a downfall, which is that part of it is not edible.
  • The first time I used lemon grass, I served the inedible part. Thinking it was like green onion, I served the green top instead of the inside middle. The second time I made this dish I used the right part, but I didn’t peel it. So for you to know right away what part to eat and how to cut it, here is a video.
Apples adding the cooking cycle with the pan filled with kale, lemon grass and dried cranberries

Kortni’s Kitchen: Kale

3. Add the cranberries and apples and let them cook through. The apples shouldn’t be soft like in a pie, but rather in between apple sauce and a raw apple. By this time your kale might even have some char marks; that is fine as well. Just make sure it’s char marks, not burning. Once your apples have cooked, you are done.

  • At this point you can cook the kale down to half its size and then add the last items. You can cook it even longer and the kale will keep shrinking. Just know that the longer you wait, the smaller portion sizes you will get.
Cooked kale with apples, dried cranberries, and lemon grass

Kortni’s Kitchen: Kale

One of my co-workers at Life Pacific said it perfectly when I was making this dish. He said kale used to be used as a garnish, just something we used to make our food look prettier. Now parents are feeding it to their children because they found out how healthy it is for you. Kale did a total switch: it went from garnish to main dish. Though you can eat kale raw, if you are anything like me and bitter is not a taste you can handle, then I suggest you cook it down. You can serve this as a side or even a nice hot salad. I call it a sweet kale dish due to the cranberries and apple. Kale may be the way of the future, or just a passing phase. Either way, grab onto it now. Kale is so healthy for you and can be prepared in so many different ways. It is great to have a few recipes on hand.