Jazzed Up Mashed Potatoes with a Bouquet of Kale

Healthy and happy children – what every mother hopes and works for.  In the United States, Mother’s Day was started when Anna Jarvis organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community, a cause she believed would be best advocated for by mothers.  So, on Mother’s Day, why not honor yours in the spirit of good health, and bring her a big bouquet of fresh kale, and/or dress up a favorite food with some healthy ingredients? Perhaps kale?

In addition to keeping us well and nursing us back to health when we are not, she’s known for those special dishes we crave when we need a little extra comfort. Comfort foods such as mashed potatoes. My Dutch mother, like most Dutch home cooks, would include a vegetable (usually kale, sometimes carrots, always onions) to this already warming, and perfectly satisfying dish and serve it with a sausage on top. It’s Dutch “boerenkool met worst”, literally, “farmer’s cabbage (or kale) with sausage.”  I’ve jazzed it up a bit (nutritionally, that is) by including more onions, garlic and leeks from the healthful allium family, using organic potatoes and apples complete with peel (where many nutrients hang out), and by adding walnuts (omega-3 essential fatty acids), pieces of apple (“an apple a day keeps the doctor away”) and small cubes of cheese (protein and calcium) which begin to melt into that delicious gooey consistency just when you are about to take your first bite.

Jazzed Up Mashed Potatoes with a Bouquet of Kale

  • 2 tablespoons butter (ideally from organic, grass-fed cows)
  • 1 large sweet onion,* chopped
  • 1 leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch kale,* leaves washed, pulled off of stem and chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 5-7 medium-sized potatoes* (roughly 2.5 lbs), scrubbed and cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 crispy apple,* with peel on, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup cheese (gouda, edam, cheddar or monterey jack), cut into small cubes
  • pepper, to taste
  • freshly ground nutmeg, to taste
  • sausage or vegetarian sausage (optional)
Method:
  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet, add chopped onions and leeks, turn down heat, cover and allow to caramelize. Add chopped kale and garlic, cook another 5 minutes until bright green.
  2. Cook potatoes in large pot with just enough lightly salted water to cover until soft (roughly 20 minutes). Pour off excess water.
  3. Back on low heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, milk and salt, and mash until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
  4. Fold in kale-onion mixture, walnuts, apple pieces and cheese cubes.  Watch the cheese cubes begin to melt as you serve onto plates.
* Organic, if possible.  According to the Environmental Working Group these vegetables are on the “Dirty Dozen” list meaning that when commercially grown, they come with the heaviest pesticide load.

I just submitted this recipe to the Mother’s Day Comfort Food Makeover contest.  I’d love your vote, if you’re so inclined.  You can vote for this recipe here on May 6th-9th, 2011.  Thank you!

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8 thoughts on “Jazzed Up Mashed Potatoes with a Bouquet of Kale

  1. What a treat! I’ve got to try this one for a special occasion. Kale and potatoes is a winning combination anytime, but this is a great recipe….and cheese!

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