Recipe: Low Carb Kale Chili (That Looks Like a Bowl of Lawn Clippings)

Another weekend and another installment of ‘Let’s Make Something Out of What Didn’t Get Used From Last Week’s Shopping Trip‘.

The star of this particular fridge-cleaning was 3 bunches of kale bought in expectation of a use of the juicer to dispense with some aged fruit. The kale was supposed to be used in conjunction with the aged fruit, but the juicing never occurred  the fruit just became more aged, and the kale began moving into its dotage.

That’s a lot of kale – and I just made my wonderful kale and sausage soup which I ate with a lot of Greek yogurt and enjoyed every mouthful. I wasn’t in the mood for more right at this point, and I had a pound of grass-fed beef to use up. So I rifled through the refrigerator and pantry and decided to make a chili of sorts, using Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning mix to spice it up, which I find works well to, um, enhance the strong flavor of kale.

Of course, that strong bitter flavor of kale is what makes it good for you. The world is twisted that way.

Digression aside, I came up with the following abandoned and forgotten foodstuffs – the refrigerator version of the Island of Misfit Toys:

  • 3 bunches of kale
  • 8 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups sliced peppers
  • 1 pound 85% lean grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 large can of peeled tomatoes
  • 3 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning mix
  • 3 tablespoons crushed garlic
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Keep in mind the above list is a somewhat random selection of things found in the fridge that more or less can co-exist in a dish in harmony. The core items here are the kale, beef, and the can of peeled tomatoes. Everything else could have been altered.

My 2 problems with kale are that I don’t particularly like the flavor of it in certain dishes, and I hate to throw away the stems – too darn wasteful in my opinion. I decided to remedy both of these through a strong seasoning and my immersion blender.

The taco seasoning would overpower the kale flavor, and my immersion blender would tackle the kale.

The first step was to cut the kale cross-wise, including the stems. When cutting the stems, cut them as thin as possible, like just a 2 or 3 millimeters thick. The point here is that you want to cut the tough fibers of the stems as short as possible. This turns an inedible stem into nutrition, bulk and fiber. As you move up into the leafy part, the slices can be further apart or you might be cutting kale for hours.

The kale – a huge amount when chopped – went into a large pot with the can of tomatoes and cooked on high for 15 minutes. I stirred occasionally to avoid it burning and it reduced in bulk considerably. Then I hit it with the immersion blender for about 5 solid minutes. Here – as in the cutting – patience yields better results: a smooth, green goo devoid of long, tough fibers.

I decided to cook with 2 pots – a rarity for me because *I* am the kitchen staff that cleans up – no retinue of slaves to clean up after me – and as a result I like to avoid making as much mess as possible. Into the other pot went the onions, oil and beef. After the beef had cooked and the onions became translucent, I added the remaining vegetables and taco seasoning and cooked for another 10 minutes or so.

When this was done, I added this pot to the kale in the other pot, gave it a good stir, and let this simmer for maybe 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

OK – something you should know: it doesn’t look like chili. It looks like the lawn clippings when you mow the lawn right after a rain. Looks aren’t everything, however as the stuff was delicious. If I had to do it over, I would have cut the veggies other than kale a bit larger and perhaps cooked them less to make the texture more complex, but it was fine.

I had mine with fresh grated parm cheese melted on the top. I’ve also had it plain – it is good that way, too.

Much to my surprise  my older daughter had it for dinner on Monday – she liked it enough to eat it on her own accord. That means I’m onto something. Even my wife, who came in late from work and was scanning the fridge said: “do you have any more of that green goo you made?”

“It’s not green goo.” I said, indignantly. It’s lawn clippings.”

Whatever you want to call it, it seems to have struck a note in my household. It’s a recipe I’ll have to try again.

Nutrition Information

I actually tried to come up with a somewhat accurate recording of the macronutrients on this one. I give no guarantees  but this is what I am using for a serving of about 1.5 cups:

Calories: 313
Fat: 19.9g
Protein: 17.9g
Fiber: 4.8g
Net Carbs: 10.5g

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2 thoughts on “Recipe: Low Carb Kale Chili (That Looks Like a Bowl of Lawn Clippings)

  1. The employees where I work are affectionately referred to as the “land of misfit workers”. Me, included. Your reference to the lost veg made me smile.

    I always add a big handful of kale (off the stems) to my scrambled eggs and sausage. It cooks down and is quite delicious.

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