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Modern Problems: Those Pesky Kale Stems!

I love kale. I also am "thrifty" and the stalks have always been problematic for me. I've tried sauteing them until tender before adding the actual kale leaves. It's fair but not very exciting. I've also tried fermenting them but no one who tried them asked for the recipe, if you know what I mean and I think you do. This last weekend I was reading the old book, When French Women Cook, and I remembered how the answer to so many questions, often unasked, was heavy cream. So I sauteed the stems in olive oil with onions and garlic and when almost soft, I added a cubed potato. I added about 1/4 cup of heavy cream and then baked it in a medium hot oven for about 45 minutes. I used this great black chamba clay piece. It was heaven. Last night for Sunday supper, I thought I'd try and replicate it, this time using a larger classic gratin from Poterie Not in France. I did much the same, only times three. I also decided to up the ante and added some cubed pancetta to the mix. I let the cream come about a 1/4 way up. It was barely visible. The trick would be to keep it moist but also have a nice dry, crusty top. I think we have a winner here. It was just great. In case you are led to believe that this is just a way to eat potatoes and heavy cream, you are wrong! The kale added something great. I would skip the pancetta next time maybe. I think things are just fine without it. Not quite a kale smoothie, but I'll carry on.

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