Even though I typically saute kale when preparing it for dinner, I recently discovered a faster and better way to cook it: Toss the trimmed greens with olive oil and roast them in a hot oven for just 10 minutes. This method works best with curly kale. The edges get nice and crispy, while the leaves don’t overcook.
I was especially pleased with how the flavors in this dish balanced each other. I coated the chicken thighs in a smoked paprika dry rub, which paired well with the slight bitterness of the kale. The lemon juice dressing I used balanced out the sweetness from the cranberries.
This warm salad serves two for dinner.
- 1 large clove shallot, diced (about 1/4 cup when diced)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup farro
- 1 pound curly kale, stems removed and chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Juice from 1 lemon
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Melt a pat of butter in the bottom of a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cranberries and cook until shallots begin to sweat. Add the farro and cook until the grains begin to toast, 3-5 minutes. Then add a generous cup of water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until all the water has been absorbed.
Step 2. Combine the poultry seasoning, smoked paprika and garlic powder together in a shallow bowl or plate. Dredge the chicken thighs in it. Cook in a covered pan over medium heat until done (and the thighs have reached 165 degrees F), about 20 minutes. Set aside to rest, then dice.
Step 3. In a large bowl, toss the chopped kale with the olive oil and salt. Spread out onto a half-sheet pan and roast for 10 minutes. Don’t worry if the kale looks crowded on the sheet pan, that’s the point. This helps achieve the perfect balance of roasting and steaming.
Step 4. Combine the kale, farro and diced chicken. Sprinkle with lemon juice and toss, then taste to adjust seasoning. There should be enough olive oil in the dish from the roasted kale, but add more if necessary. Use salt and pepper to taste.