Spicy Kale Sauté with Cashew Butter

In my line of work, I always seem to have random bits and bobs knocking around in my fridge.  It’s half a chile here, a wedge of onion there, sometimes a handful of chopped kale.  Dinner, therefore, mostly ends up being a rough jumble of ingredients tossed together on a sauté pan and a prayer.  Mostly, it works out well enough.

But every so often, I come up with something truly special.  This is as sad as it is delightful, as I’m certain I will never ever ever enjoy that particular dish again, because that combination of ingredients will never again exist simultaneously in my fridge.

Sometimes, though, it’s so good that I write it down.  You know, just in case magic happens and those ingredients appear in my fridge.  Who knows, I might buy those ingredients together on purpose.

I took one bite of this, and immediately grabbed my pen and notebook.

Here, it’s served with leftover mustard-roasted leg of lamb, just a few slices for an accent, because I had some in the fridge.  It’s just as good on its own.

Spicy Kale Sauté with Cashew Butter

Yield: 3-4 servings

The one ingredient that I'm certain you don't have is the smoked turkey glace, which sounds a lot fancier than it actually is. It's my secret ingredient lately; I'm stirring a spoonful into just about everything, and it. is. incredible. Get you one smoked turkey wing or leg, put it in your biggest stock pot with half an onion and a bay leaf, fill the pot mostly full with cold water, and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour, or until the meat comes easily off the bone. Remove the onion, bay leaf, and meat; use the meat for something delicious. Bring the stock back up to a boil and reduce the hell out of it. This might take several hours, but it's well worth it. Reduce it until there's hardly anything left, maybe 1/2 or 1 cup, tops. This is your smoked turkey glace. Cool it and store it in the fridge where you can get at it easily. It should thicken into a soft gelatin after chilling, but will dissolve instantly in any heat. Use in small amounts, and often.

Or, you know, use chicken stock. Whatever works for you.


  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced finely
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, with ribs, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 splash dry vermouth (or white wine)
  • 2 tablespoons cashew butter
  • 1-2 teaspoons smoked turkey glace (optional; see headnote)
  • 1 cup cooked whole grain of choice (I used red rice; try brown rice, farro, quinoa, or similar)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, or all of the above)
  • 1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon (optional, but awesome; otherwise, use a heavy squeeze of lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh chile (I used a blend of Serrano and Marzano)
  • Grated Parmesan, to finish


1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add a splash of olive oil, and sauté the garlic, shallot, and red onion for about 1 minute, or until fragrant and just beginning to soften.

2. Add the kale, and toss to combine. Reduce heat to medium. Splash in some dry vermouth, and cook until the kale has wilted down and no more liquid remains, 2-3 minutes.

3. Thin the cashew butter with enough water to make a runny sauce, and add it to the kale along with the smoked turkey glace. Stir until kale is coated, and cook until liquid has mostly evaporated.

4. Add the cooked grain, herbs, preserved lemon (or lemon juice), and chile, and toss to combine. Remove from heat, and serve immediately with Parmesan grated generously over the top.