Creamed kale is an easy side dish that deserves its place on your holiday table. This version is made in the slow cooker and includes a bit of chicken stock, milk, and heavy cream, which is thickened on the stove before being poured on top of ribbons of kale. Romano cheese adds nuttiness and binds the sauce, along with a pinch of nutmeg and a little crushed red pepper. Right before serving, a touch of lemon zest brightens the dish.
Why this recipe works:
- A quick and easy cream sauce is prepared on the stove, then poured over ribbons of kale and finished at leisure in the slow cooker.
- Aged Romano, chicken stock, nutmeg and crushed red pepper prevent the sauce from being one-note.
- A final shower of lemon zest brings this side dish to life.
- Yield:Serves 6 to 8
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:2 1/2 hours
- 2 bunches kale (about 1 3/4 pounds), cleaned, stems discarded
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, minced (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 cup finely grated aged Romano or Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Cut kale into ribbons and place in the bowl of a large slow cooker.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking until fully softened, about 2 minutes longer. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in milk, heavy cream, and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, nutmeg, and crushed red pepper. Simmer for 1 minute and pour over kale.
Cover and cook on low setting for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding stock as necessary if the bottom threatens to burn. Stir in lemon zest and adjust seasoning before serving.