Rustic Tomato Braised Kale

ysm braised kaleEveryone knows that on St. Patrick’s Day most people’s diets consist of corned beef and cabbage, some type of potato, and copious amounts of green beer. This is the one holiday out of the year where people feel the need to add artificial color to their food, perhaps in hopes that green dye will make it more healthy. But how about saving that dye for the Easter Eggs? Let’s eat some real greens this St. Patrick’s Day!

One of my favorite ways to prepare greens, especially when it is still chilly out, is by braising. Braising is a technique that involves cooking pieces of meat in a liquid for a long period of time to achieve tenderness and rich flavor. Vegetables can be braised as well, and greens are excellent candidates for braising. Kale is particularly good for braising because the leaves are thick and sturdy, which hold up well during the cooking process.

This kale dish is a quick and easy dinner for you and your family. You will hear no complaints–only requests for second helpings! Whether served as a main dish with white beans and cornbread or as an accompaniment to some homemade macaroni and cheese, braised greens will be requested much more often than just on Irish holidays.


Rustic Tomato Braised Kale


  • 2 large bags of kale, shredded or chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 ribs of celery, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 2 thick pieces of pancetta, cubed
  • 1 large can whole tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 bundle thyme
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, whole
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a large pot on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Sauté pancetta, onions, celery, carrots, garlic and chili flakes until translucent and fragrant. Add bundle of thyme, peppercorns and bay leaves.
  3. When vegetables are soft, add chopped kale. Slowly cook until wilted.
  4. Add whole tomatoes and lightly crush with spoon.
  5. Pour water or stock over greens, just enough to cover them.
  6. Add vinegar, set heat to low and simmer for about an hour (or transfer to a Crockpot and set to low heat until ready to serve).
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  8. Remove bay leaves and thyme stems before serving.