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Braised Black Kale with White Beans and Smoked Ham

High-quality ham contributes a smoky, meaty flavor that mimics long cooking in this quick braise of peppery black kale, or cavalo nero. Creamy, earthy beans and woodsy fresh rosemary combine to create a satisfying dish that can even be served as a main course.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. smoked ham such as Black Forest, diced
  • Leaves from 2 bunches black kale, about 1 lb. total, torn into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Pinch of sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

Directions:

Drain the beans, rinse them and drain again.

In a fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and sauté until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the ham and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the kale, cover the pan and cook, turning occasionally, until the kale leaves just begin to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth, salt and pepper, and cook until the leaves are just tender and the liquid has almost evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the beans and rosemary to the pan and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, tossing gently, until the beans are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Taste and adjust the seasonings and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).