Peel potatoes if desired, and cut into 2-inch chunks. Add them to a large pot with 1 teaspoon salt and fill with enough cool water to just cover. Place lid on pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and place lid slightly ajar to prevent boiling over. Cook until fork tender, roughly 20-25 minutes.
Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and leave in colander. Return pot to stove top over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions and sauté until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add kale and cook until well-wilted, about 3-4 minutes.
Add potatoes back to the pot with the onions and kale and mash over low heat. Add the milk a little at a time until you reach desired consistency. Mix in butter and bacon pieces, if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Portion into bowls, make an indention into the center, add a small pat of cold
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