If you don’t want to use bacon, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in the pot, add the kale, and proceed with the recipe.
2 thick slices bacon or pancetta, cut into 1/4” dice
1 big bunch kale (about 1 1/4 pound), rinsed, dried, and cut into chiffonade
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth, or water
2 T all-purpose flour, white or whole-grain
1 T butter, cut into tiny cubes, plus more for buttering dish, or olive oil
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c cream, heavy, half-and-half, or whole milk
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Put bacon in a large, deep skillet or soup pot over medium heat. Cook until almost crispy. Add the kale, season with salt and pepper, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted.
2. Add the broth, cover the pot, and cook 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Take the lid off and cook another 5 minutes or so, until almost no liquid remains at the bottom of the pot. (You want the kale to be fairly dry.)
3. Remove the pot from the heat, add the flour, and stir until no white or brown remains. Grease a medium oval gratin dish, a pie plate, or an 8- x 8-inch baking dish, and transfer the kale to the gratin dish in a roughly even layer.
4. Season the kale with salt and pepper, dot with the butter or drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top. Drizzle the cream over cheese, and bake for 30 minutes, until the cream is bubbling and the cheese is browned. Serve warm.