Christmas Kale is a festive side-dish creation for your holiday table that might just upstage the French Onion Green Bean Casserole that I showed you last year. I named it Christmas Kale because the color of kale reminds me of a Christmas tree and the cherry tomatoes remind me of its Christmas balls. And with ingredients like pancetta, walnuts and heavy cream this side dish reaches a level of luxury that that’s perfect for the holidays where diet is just a four letter word. Let’s face it, the green vegetable amongst the other holiday dishes, can often get looked over. I think the reason that the green bean casserole has been so popular over the years is its creamy texture and crunchy element on top. This Christmas Kale has it all. You’ve got those crisp salty bits of pancetta, the crunch of the buttery walnuts playing against the cream bathed kale with the unexpected fresh acidic pop of the cherry tomatoes to complete the experience. I think when you try this you’ll agree that this is about as exciting as the obligatory green vegetable on your holiday table can get.
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min
- 1 ½ lbs kale, ripped into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 oz pancetta, chopped in ½ inch pieces
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp Pecorino Romano
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- In a very large skillet, over a medium high heat sauté the pancetta until it’s crispy and brown, then remove it from the pan.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté for a minute or two then add the kale and cover for 3 minutes to wilt it more quickly.
- Once the kale had wilted and reduced to half its original volume, push it over all one side, add a tablespoon of olive oil( if the pan looks too dry and add the cherry tomatoes to the empty space in the pan.
- Add the walnuts and once the tomatoes have had about two minutes of contact with the pan you can stir it all together. Add the crispy pancetta back to the pan, stir, add the heavy cream and pecorino, stir to combine then transfer to a festive casserole dish and serve.