Friday, March 7, 2014

Tuscan Kale Stew

My philosophy of dating is to just fart right away. – Jenny McCarthy

I don’t eat enough cruciferous vegetables. Do you? Kale is a cruciferous vegetable, as are many other vegetables I don’t eat enough of – especially in winter.

The list of cruciferous vegetables is long. It includes some you would expect, like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. But it also includes some you might not think of, such as turnip, watercress, radish and wasabi. So what do they have in common to fit the name?

Cruciferous vegetables are all in the family Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae). The family takes its name (it's Latin for "cross-bearing") from its four petal flowers, in the shape of a cross.

They also have one other thing in common: gas. To some people they can be extremely gas-inducing; others don’t suffer quite so much. This is caused by a type of sugar known as raffinose, that most people have difficulty digesting. Luckily there’s an up-side, unless you find farts funny. I know some who do...

After simmering for 2 hours. The pork becomes fork tender.
All cruciferous vegetables contain a multitude of vitamins and minerals, and fibre, although some have more than others.They also contain phytochemicals that may aid in detoxifying certain cancer-causing substances before they have a chance to cause harm in the body.

So all good. And gassy too.

This post also references something from my last post where I told you if you see something odd in the grocery store to buy it. I saw Tuscan kale. Gorgeous stuff.

Kale isn’t an odd ingredient to see, but "Tuscan kale" was, and sadly kale is too odd in our kitchens. It was its beauty that made me buy it. It called to be a star in a pot of something...

Tuscan Kale Stew
Prep: 10 min  |  Cook 2h 15 min | Serves 8
1 tbsp olive oil
600 g pork loin roast, 2” cubes
1 medium onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
300 g crimini mushrooms, quartered
28 fl. oz diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
A full pot of deliciousness.
1 tsp whole fennel seed
2 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tbsp fresh)
2 tsp dried basil (or 2 tbsp fresh)
1 tsp dried sage (or 1 tbsp fresh)
350 g penne
19 fl oz cannellini (or black) beans
1 bunch Tuscan kale, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

In a Dutch oven, brown the pork in the oil with the fennel seeds. Then add the onion, garlic and crimini mushrooms. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Then add the tomatoes with their liquid, the chicken stock, oregano, basil and sage. Add some pepper and salt, but not too much salt. Adjust that at the end of cooking.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and let cook, covered, for about 2 hours.

The add the pasta, bring back to a boil and let cook for the pasta’s recommended time minus 1 minute. Add the drained, washed black beans and chopped kale. Cover and let cook for 5 minutes.

Taste for salt and pepper, adjust and serve, with a lovely crusty country-style bread on the side.

This can be reheated easily. If doing so, add a little water as the pasta will absorb the liquid in the pot as it cools.


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