Kale is the poster child for healthy vegetables, showing up on just about every list of so-called super foods' these days. Once relegated solely to garnish status, these days it's showing up in snack foods, juicing recipes and salads.
But it has a long history of cultivation dating back to the Middle Ages in Europe and Siberia. As a member of the Brassica family (like broccoli and collards), it is easy to grow and tolerant to temperature extremes.
The Portuguese love traditional kale soup — known as "green broth" — which can be eaten as a vegetarian dish or with thin slices of chorizo sausage. Many people consume kale as a green vegetable not unlike cabbage.
It can be slipped almost unnoticed into a fruit smoothie, or sliced thinly for salads. The noncurly varieties work best in salads, especially if you allow them to marinade in dressing for a time.
My choice is stir-frying so that all the nutritional advantages and distinct tastes of kale can be enjoyed. Kale is available in the common curly variety, and increasingly in many others. This colorful and nutritious recipe works with any variety.
I've served it to friends, who've given it rave reviews, completely aside from how healthy it is. I think it's so good, I have to remind myself of all the important calcium, magnesium, carotenoids and vitamin B6 I'm getting in every bite.
Note: I prefer to cook the chicken with the skin on and remove it before serving to keep the meat moister. The added fat is minimal.
Betty Wedman-St Louis is a licensed nutritionist and environmental health specialist in Pinellas County who has written numerous books on health and nutrition. Visit her website at betty-wedman-stlouis.com.