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One-Pot Wonders: Warm Kale and Curried Chicken Salad With Toasted Coconut and Dried Cherries

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Kale and curried chicken salad. [Photographs: Yasmin Fahr]

Despite its rampant popularity, there are still some anti-kale eaters out there. Case in point, an acquaintance who looked at me disdainfully when I set a beautiful bowl of kale salad on the table. Why? It's too chewy, he replied.

Yes, there is no denying that kale is a bit tough, but that just means you have to apply a little more love to get it to an appealing texture. Most people manage this by tenderizing it, either with oil or, my personal favorite, massaging it with avocado, salt, and cumin. This recipe, though, takes a slightly different route: A hot braising liquid, full of shallots, curry, spices, and browned bits of chicken, is poured over the greens to wilt them, thus making them more tender.

The recipe itself is straightforward. First I sear the boneless chicken thighs, then set them aside. Next, I soften shallots with fragrant spices like curry and cumin, adding broth to scrape up any tasty brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Then I add the chicken back in to finish cooking. I take the chicken out once more to shred it while the cooking liquid reduces, then toss it all back together again.

I add all the kale, which I've stemmed and cut into ribbons, into a heatproof serving bowl, then pour the shredded chicken and all its warm cooking liquid on top. A quick toss is all it takes to soften the kale leaves a bit. For a final touch, I add coconut flakes and dried cherries, along with a squeeze of lime juice for a bright hit of acidity, and it's ready to go.

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One other thing I love about kale is that even if you have leftovers, the sturdy leaves won't wilt like most dressed lettuces do. Just sayin'...

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