Slow-Simmered Kale with Ham


This one-pot healthy kale recipe works wonders to remove almost all of the bitterness from the leafy greens.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
1 hr 15 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 45 mins
8 to 10 plus leftovers

Mix up your classic cooked greens and try this delicious kale recipe. As the greens wilt, they become tender and flavorful. Ham and chicken stock infuse each bite with savory, craveable flavors. Plan on allowing at least an hour and 45 minutes of cooking time for maximum flavor and the best texture. The good news is that once you've got everything in the pot, it's fairly hands off. Simply stir occasionally and that's it!

When choosing kale for this easy side dish recipe, look for fresh bunches bhg that aren't wilted or yellowing. You can use any type of kale you like but our Test Kitchen recommends Cavolo Nero or dinosaur kale. You'll want to use low-sodium chicken broth in this cooked kale recipe. As the liquid reduces, it will concentrate the salt and intensify the salty flavor. You'll get plenty from the smoked ham hocks.

Once cooked, you can eat the greens right away or refrigerate them until you're ready. Allow the kale to cool completely before transferring to an air-tight container. Refrigerate the cooked and cooled kale for up to four days.


  • 5 bunches kale (such as Cavolo Nero or dinosaur kale)

  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 onion, sliced thin

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife

  • 2 large smoked ham hocks (about 1-1/2 lb.)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 3 quart reduced-sodium chicken stock

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Kosher salt


  1. To prepare the kale, cut away the stalks and thick vein along center of the leaves. Discard any leaves that are bruised or yellow. Fill the sink with water and a palmful of kosher salt (the salt helps remove any impurities) and wash the kale thoroughly to remove any grit that may be trapped in the curly leaves. Repeat this washing process at least two or three times or until there is no grit left on the bottom of the sink; drain the kale completely and pat dry with a paper towel.

  2. Stack the kale leaves a few at a time; cut the kale crosswise into ribbons.

  3. Heat the oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, stir to coat, then add the ham hocks and bay leaves; cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are softened.

  4. Pack in the greens, pushing them down into the pot; then add the low-sodium stock, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and red pepper flakes.

  5. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and cook for 10 minutes, until the greens start to wilt, then turn the greens over with a wooden spoon and lower the heat until the liquid is simmering. Cover; cook for 45 minutes. Taste the broth and add kosher salt as need. Cook, covered, for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Serve hot. Makes 8 to 10 servings plus leftovers.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

183 Calories
8g Fat
18g Carbs
14g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Calories 183
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 1121mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 1.6mg 8%
Calcium 191.8mg 15%
Iron 2.7mg 15%
Potassium 728mg 15%
Folate, total 44.4mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.2mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.5mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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