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Kale goes Portuguese

March 21, 2014

I keep seeing lovely dark green curly kale at the South Melbourne Market and have been meaning to buy it. I was watching one of the ethnic food programmes on SBS the other night when suddenly I was motivated to act.

The episode featured Portuguese cooking and Andrea De Sousa cooked an amazing looking dish, Migas, featuring fresh finely sliced dark green leaves, crunchy breadcrumbs, pine nuts, and clack-eyed beans. Andrea said it was great with a classic Aussie barbecue. Enough said.

I sourced the black-eyed beans and pinenuts from Rita’s Nuts and the kale from Fruits on Coventry. While Andrea’s recipe featured Portuguese corn bread, a good sourdough was a recommended alternative. I had the tail end of some sourdough from one of the delis so I used that. It was easy to scratch chunks out of the end of the leaf with a fork.

I soaked some beans overnight and they took around 40 minutes to cook the next day. Usually with dried legumes, I don’t salt the soaked pulses until the last five minutes of cooking as salt can sometimes toughen the skin and the beans can take forever to cook.

You need to strip the kale from its tough stalk before use. Make sure you cut it finely. If you can’t find kale, Andrea recommends substituting Chinese broccoli.

To accompany the dish I had some chicken breasts that I’d placed between two layers of baking paper and flattened out with a meat mallet, rubbed with a mix of oil, lemon juice and rind and assorted spices, then cooked quickly on the barbecue.

Portuguese Migas

1 bunch kale (Chinese broccoli is a good substitute), leaves only
¼ cup olive oil
1garlic clove, cut in half
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs (preferably from Portuguese cornbread or a good sourdough)
½ cup pine nuts
¾ cup cooked black-eyed beans
salt and pepper

Wash the kale and pat dry. Place the leaves on top of each other and roll up into a tight cylinder. Use a sharp knife to shred the leaves very, very finely.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Throw in the garlic and fry briefly to flavour the oil, then remove with a slotted spoon. Add the breadcrumbs and fry until golden brown. Add the kale, pine nuts and black-eyed beans and toss until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6.


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