When trying to gauge how this recipe would be received, I found that the immediate response to, "What do you think of chicken and rice with kale" was, "Oh that sounds great." When I clarified that the kale would be mixed with the rice, the unanimous response was, "Oh. Hmm," coupled with a dubious expression. Once I mentioned throwing saffron in the mix, all bets were off.
Well, let me tell you that there's no reason for doubt, and I would happily share this with the Whole Foods staff and shoppers if I knew who they were, because the combination is fantastic. I know kale is the 'it' thing and you're probably tired of it, or maybe you're already over it and onto the next trend, but I, for one, am a kale loyalist. It's a versatile ingredient that adds not only health benefits to a dish but also heartiness, and holds up well to cooking.
Other than this replacing broccoli with kale, this is a basic chicken and rice dish that's spruced up with cumin and saffron for a hint of color and depth of flavor that helps to balance the natural bitterness of kale. A finishing touch of lemon brightens up the meal and you'll find that this is one of those recipes that fills your house with an inviting aroma from the basmati rice and saffron.
Serve it with a tzatziki-style yogurt sauce mixed with cubes of fresh cucumber and mint or, if you're like me, a kale salad mixed with feta and avocado—never too much kale in my book!