But kale flavor wasn’t enough—the greens needed seasoning. First, I traded the water for chicken broth. This swap gave the dish a meaty backbone without making it taste overtly chicken-y. But since the broth, which had plenty of salt, reduced almost completely, I had to remove any added salt lest the dish become too salty. For vibrancy, I tried pouring in white wine with the broth, but the long exposure to an acidic environment caused a reaction with the chlorophyll in the kale, turning it a drab green. Instead, I added lemon juice to the kale off the heat just before serving, which provided brightness without color‑changing effects.
Lastly, I thought some thinly sliced garlic and a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes were in order. I waited until all the moisture in the Dutch oven had evaporated—as signaled by the kale starting to sizzle—before pushing the kale to one side and adding the aromatics, mixed with a bit of oil, to the other side. The garlic became fragrant almost immediately, providing bursts of nutty sweetness to complement the earthy, slightly bitter kale that was neither raw nor braised but, happily, somewhere right in between.