Greens are one of the fundamentals of southern cuisine. To that extent, most southern cooks are privy to traditional methods of cutting them for cooking. Although, many will attest that within the ten commandments, there contains a footnote that states “Thou Shalt Find No Superior Accompaniment to Greens than Fat-back.” I contend that not only is there a flavor-rich alternative, in addition, it is one that will bring harmony to your body, and mind with it’s abundance of health benefits, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Kale the (Anti-inflammatory) Super-Green
Kale greens are a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K. That is only the beginning. The anti-oxidant power of kale can be tested by sitting out a leaf at room temperature. Unlike other greens in it’s botanical family, kale resists the rapid oxidation that causes greens to wilt. Consequently, it is allegedly the most Lutein rich food. Lutein is an anti-oxidant carotenoid that is scientifically proven to protect eyes from degradation. Kale also contains Alpha-Lipoic-Acid, which lowers glucose levels in the blood. Another key element, the chlorophyll contained in greens binds with toxic cancer causing agents, and prevents the body from absorbing them. Oxalic acid is an enzyme that prevents the body from absorbing calcium. Although kale contains one of the lowest concentrations of oxalates in comparison to other greens, cooking these super-greens lowers oxalic-acid even more. Further, kale is also a good source of Omega-fatty acids.
After washing greens well, trim the tougher portions of the stems. If preferred, you can cut around the stem of leaves, and remove them, keeping the leaf in tact. First, fold lengthwise. Then fold down, and roll. Hold rolled leaf firmly, and cut along edge. You can layer two or three leaves, and repeat the process. I used the Dinosaur kale variety, which has softer stems.
Kale: 1 bunch
Red Onion: 1 whole
Garlic: 2 cloves
Black Pepper: 1 tbsp. (fine ground)
Water: 1 liter (spring water)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 3 tbsp.
Rosemary: 1 sprig
Whole Poultry Fryer: 4-6 lb. (organic)
Brown rice: 1 lb.
First, to braise chicken, either cook chicken whole, or cut into 6 parts, (2 legs, 2 wings, 2 breast). Place in pot with 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp fine ground black pepper, 1 sprig of rosemary, and 1 liter of spring water. Bring to a boil, then allow to cook, (total cooking time: About 30-45 minutes, or until blood no longer emerges from center when pierced). Set aside. Pour off liquid from boil, and combine kale, 1/2 red onion, and 2 cloves garlic in pot. Bring to a boil. Cooking time: About 20 minutes. When cooked, greens should be an olive green color. Remove from heat, separate liquid from kale, and combine it with brown rice. Cook rice until done. Cooking time: about 30 minutes. Rice should not be mushy. When brown rice is cooked, you will see small white flecks throughout. This is the center, the bran contained within the rice grain, which is removed in white rice. Dice the remaining 1/2 of red onion, and mix with rice.
Notes: Cooking rice: 1 cup rice to 2 cups water, or liquid.
Long grain brown rice is an excellent source of B vitamins: thiamine, niacin, B6. The B vitamins, (often called the brain messenger vitamins), are all essential to brain and nerve function, as well as metabolism.
Benefits of Red Onions
To retain the beneficial enzymes, it is best to consume red onions raw, or lightly cooked; either crushed, or chopped. Onions generally contain Quercetin, an anti-inflammatory enzyme that prevents tumor growth, and removes toxins from the body, in addition to keeping blood glucose levels low. Anthocyanins are flavonoids which color the red skin of these onions and other purplish foods. They are also an anti-oxidant that suppresses cancer cells’ ability to further develop by inhibiting Angiogenesis, (the growth of new blood vessels that feed cancer cells). Lastly, Allicin, a compound found in garlic and onions, combats bacteria, fungus, and viruses. Chopping or crushing releases this enzyme.
The Truth About Cancer. (07/18/2017). “Health Benefits of Red Onions: Four Ways Red Onions Reduce your Cancer Risk.” [https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/health-benefits-red-onion/]
Nutritiondata.self. “Kale, Raw Nutrition Facts & Calories”. [http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2]. [07/19/2017].
Nutritiondata.self. “Rice, Brown, Long-grain Cooked Nutrition Facts & Calories”. [http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5707/2]. [07/19/2017]
Wikipedia. “Kale”. [http://en.m.wikepedia.org/wiki/kale]. [07/19/2017].