A few weeks ago, I read an article online about how the “tail to snout” philosophy of using every part of an animal for food has spread to vegetables. Chefs and home cooks alike are using carrot tops, watermelon rinds, and less-than-perfect berries to make pestos, soups, pickles and braises. The very next day, I saw bundles of kohlrabi at my farmers’ market and was inspired. I love kohlrabi bulbs but never thought about eating the leaves. When the vendor asked me if I wanted the leaves cut off before she bagged my vegetables, I said no, already planning how I’d cook them.
They were even better than I dared to hope. I’d guess that other tough greens, like collards or mustard greens, would work well in this recipe. The nice thing about kohlrabi, though, is that I get to eat the bulb, too. Knowing that I’m getting double duty from my purchase makes me feel more connected to my food and a more responsible consumer, which in turn makes the food taste better. This recipe is a baseline and I’ve modified it since I first made it; I’ve thrown in more sausage, added the crisped bacon (if no one eats it in the meantime), and put in some aging ham and canadian bacon that I found in the corner of the cold cut drawer, further enhancing my self-satisfaction and enjoyment of my own cooking! It doesn’t even bother me that my kids aren’t huge fans of this dish, because I don’t have to share it.
Now I just need to figure out what to do with the ribs!
6-8 large kohlrabi leaves, ribs removed and cut in chiffonade
2 thick slices bacon (or 1 T rendered bacon fat)
Small onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. minced garlic
½ c. water
1 chicken andouille sausage
1-2 tsp. hot sauce (depending on how hot you like it–I use Frank’s)
Salt and pepper
Render the fat off the bacon over low heat. Once the fat is fully rendered, remove the bacon from the pan (eat it or save for another time). Increase heat to medium. Saute the onion in the bacon grease until softened. Add the garlic and cook another minute or so till garlic is fragrant. Add the kohlrabi leaves, water, sausage and hot sauce. Cook until the greens are wilted and dark, about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if the pan becomes dry while cooking. Season with salt, pepper, and malt vinegar to taste. The dish will be somewhat brothy.