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Braised Kale with Pancetta

Servings: two generously.

It always amazes me how much a huge bunch of kale shrinks during cooking. This recipe is especially good with the tender Red Russian variety. A squeeze of lemon makes a good finish.


  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4-inch slice pancetta, diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Pinch dried red chile flakes
  • 1-1/2 lb. kale, stemmed, leaves roughly torn
  • 1-1/2 cups homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 350
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 160
  • Fat (g): 18
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11
  • Cholesterol (mg): 10
  • Sodium (mg): 480
  • Carbohydrates (g): 39
  • Fiber (g): 7
  • Protein (g): 18


  • In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, onion, and red chile flakes; sauté until the onion is deep golden, about 5 min. Add the kale; toss with tongs to coat the leaves with oil. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the leaves are quite tender, about 10 min. (thicker-leaved varieties will need longer, so do check the pan, adding water or broth if needed, and taste a leaf).
  • Stir in the minced garlic, raise the heat to high, and boil uncovered until the pan is dry. Season with a few grinds of pepper (you probably won’t need salt) and serve.


Rate or Review

Reviews (3 reviews)

  • IL | 03/09/2010

    Very tasty. I use smoked Polish bacon and get the same results.

  • Elonios | 02/28/2010

    I followed this recipe except substituted oven roasted cherry tomatoes for the pancetta. Also reduced the olive oil to 2 tsp. The method is great-very flavorful tender kale. Will be making this many more times.

  • Charles_R | 11/05/2009

    Great recipe!

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