at the Thanksgiving table will be grateful for kale
seldom to never get the star treatment at a Thanksgiving
meal. They are the second-class feasters, pushed to a side,
while the talk about turkey carries on endlessly.
now and then they would be asked if the buttery mashed
potatoes, green bean casserole, roasted Brussels sprouts or
pecan-studded sweet potato casserole is to their liking, and
then the conversation would return to the preparation of the
bird like thatís the only thing man has accomplished since
inventing the wheel.
anyone starts justifying that the spuds and verdant-hued
vegetables should appease the non-meat eaters, think about
it: They are sides, and nothing more than delicious sides,
about switching things up this year? Make the growing number
of vegetarians in your family and on your guest list feel
special by serving a vegetarian main dish and keep the bland
butterball of a bird to the side by tossing it in a wild
main dish, I am not talking about Tofurkey ó that terrible
faux meat play on turkey with a rubbery texture and insipid
taste ó but instead a stellar vegetarian one that will
have everyone going gaga. Something that is a treat to look
at and to eat, a conversation starter and immensely
satisfying but wonít leave anyone groaning in pain.
the Native Americans didnít greet the Pilgrims with kale
or pomegranates, but I can guarantee that both camps will
approve of the rustic and comforting kale slab pie.
with plenty of kale and perfumed with dill and mint, itís
earthy in flavor and style and sits on a layer of cornmeal.
Creamy feta and grated mozzarella cheeses soften the kaleís
rough textures while red pepper flakes cut the greensí
bitterness by lending some heat. Pomegranate seeds not only
brighten the slab pieís appearance for a photo-op but also
add a slight sweetness.
the health freaks will have a good word about the pie, as
kale after all is the king of nutrient greens and is loaded
with antioxidants. If kale isnít your greens of
preference, you can always make a spinach or Swiss chard
itís a slab pie, it can feed many more hungry mouths than
the average round pie, and you donít have to deal with the
mess or fuss of trying to crimp the edges or weave a lattice
on top. Slab pies usually call for a jellyroll pan, but you
donít even need that here; just go with any large
rectangular baking pan you have in your kitchen.
pie is the perfect team player and can be made hours before
serving, so it wonít have to compete for space with the
sweet potato casserole in the oven. All it needs is to be
warmed at a low temperature in the oven along with the other
sides about a half-hour before the meal.
the grand meal, not only will you have the vegetarians
saying thanks earnestly but also the kitchen cleanup crew
ó for there wonít be anything left to put away.
slab pie can also be made with Swiss chard or spinach. Let
the slab pie sit at least for 30 minutes after baking so
that the cornmeal crust can set and the flavors of the
greens and herbs combine.
pounds kale leaves with short stems
to taste, divided
cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
medium onions, finely chopped
bunch scallion, chopped
cup chopped fresh dill
cup chopped fresh mint
teaspoon red pepper flakes
ground pepper to taste, divided
feta cheese, crumbled
shredded mozzarella cheese
pomegranate seeds, for garnish
kale leaves and stems in salted boiling water for about 4
minutes. Transfer wilted greens along with stems to a bowl
of cold water, then drain and squeeze out moisture. Chop
whatever longish stems attached to the leaves to small
slices; set kale set aside in a bowl.
tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a skillet; add
onions. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 8 minutes.
scallions and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in kale, dill
and mint. Add red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to
taste, and combine well. Remove from heat and let kale
oven to 350 degrees and grease 13-by-9-inch rectangular pan
with remaining oil (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon).
medium saucepan, bring milk to a simmer over medium heat.
Add salt to taste and slowly stream in cornmeal (so it doesnít
lump up) while stirring with a wooden spoon.
until mixture is thick, like polenta. Remove from heat and
spread the mixture in oiled baking dish with wooden spoon or
feta and mozzarella cheeses to kale mixture; lightly combine
well. Spread kale mixture evenly over cornmeal crust in an
slab pie with foil loosely and bake for 30 minutes. Remove
foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until top is slightly
from oven and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
with pomegranate seeds on top before cutting.