This is an adaptation of a recipe I found on a package of frozen collard greens when I lived in Hawaii in the 1990′s. Needless to say, that version did not include quinoa or kale.
I am not a huge ham eater, but I do love pea soup, and I need a ham bone to make a decent pea soup. A few times each year, I buy a smoked picnic ham, serve a variety of meals I have accumulated to expedite consumption of the ham over the next few days, and then cap it off with an enormous pot of pea soup.
The trick to getting your family to keep eating a ham for several days is to make each dish different. Even ham and potato casserole seems a lot like macaroni and cheese with ham if you are not sufficiently creative.
That’s why I was so excited when I originally found this recipe for a ham and rice dish featuring collard greens. This was unlike any other meal currently in the family rotation and tasty to boot.
Of course, flash forward eighteen years, and I am all about the quinoa rather than white rice. I never see frozen, chopped collard queens at my usual grocer, but I could have chosen fresh collard greens in the produce department. In the end, I opted for kale this week because it was priced lower per bunch and is more versatile in my kitchen. Collards take a long time to cook compared to other greens, up to forty-five minutes, whereas I can saute kale in three minutes.
Ham and Kale Quinoa Pilaf
- 2 cups cooked ham, cubed
- 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
- 1.75 cups water
- 1 sodium free chicken bouillon packet
- salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
- 3-4 cups roughly chopped kale
- 1 ounce cheese (I used a slice of Swiss)
- 1/2 cup onions or celery
Once you have everything cut up, you can cook this in one pot. Be sure you remove the thick stems from your kale before chopping.
Combine ham, quinoa, water, bouillon, seasonings in large saucepan. Top with kale.
Bring to boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer fifteen minutes.
Remove from heat without opening cover and let stand five minutes.
Stir and let stand covered a few more minutes if all liquid is not yet absorbed.
Add cheese if desired. Crunchy celery or onions can add texture to the final dish as well.
Freeze Ham for Later Use
Remember, if you cook a big ham and no one wants to eat it all now, you can freeze two-cup portions in freezer bags that store flat and thaw quickly when needed for recipes like this one.
What do you think? Is this a recipe your family would enjoy? Let me know in the comments below.
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