Thursday, 15 November 2012

Kale-os in the Kitchen: Grünkohl mit Pinkel - Curly Kale the German Way

That is going to be a sunny day. The sun wasn't at full force yet, but could clearly be seen rising behind the houses in the neighbourhood with a clear sky around it.
Well, the thermometer revealed it's 2°C and the car was covered in that thin white thing I despise so much, when I have to use my car in the morning.
Gladly, I didn't need my car at that point of the day.
A breakfast would be good at that point. Said and done!
By the time I was finished all hopes of a sunny day were shattered. How could it be!
Outside now a fog like dampness prevailed and it was far from being nice, despite the fact that 2°C can't be nice either. At least in my case.
Anyway, I had to go to get an appointment for the dentist for later that year and used the opportunity to visit the farmers market as well.
Today it's really the time for some comfort food. As I was browsing the different stalls, I couldn't fail to notice that it's the time for kale at this very point of the year. So I got myself a batch of it and made the following later that day.

Well, I have eaten that already many times. In Germany in some regions it is called Grünkohl mit Pinkel. 'Pinkel' refers to a special sausage made from pork. 'Grünkohl' obviously then is kale.
However, I've never cooked it myself. How hard can it be? (I know, someone else from television is always saying this, but I like to use it as well.)
So I got some last minute advice from the lady who sold the kale to me and set off to give it a go.
I give you the list of ingredients now, but don't try it at home. Maybe not the same way I did, but in a bit more reasonable way ...

50 g butter
2 onions, finely chopped
1 kg kale, in small pieces
4 Mettenden or Pinkel (slightly smoked pork sausages)
1 l vegetable stock (I used 2 l, I know now it was too much, but it helped)
Salt and pepper according to taste

Preparation (more or less ... adapt with common sense):
By the way the lady at the market said 1 kg of kale would do for two persons, because it will reduce very much in size.

Now this is how the amount of kale looked like on my kitchen table. Oh, maybe the picture isn't that good.
To be more precise, half of the table was covered and it hardly fitted into the kitchen sink to give it a wash. Right, I could have done that in batches ...
Talking about batches, let's start by melting the butter in a pan, the largest you have, maybe and then continue by sweating the onions.

The next step is, that we want to cook the kale. Just think about this for a while. All the kale, that is 1 kg, has to go into that pan. Hm ... it will shrink ... but not at once. If you have a vessel in your kitchen for cooking that can hold 1 kg of kale, you might think about using that.
So I went on adding the first batch of kale and getting 1 l of vegetable stock ready to pour over it and let it cook.

With the stock the kale reduces quite good and I can add more. In fact, though, all this is taking a while, but since the vegetable stock is doing such a good job I added another litre of it.
Nevertheless it took quite some time. I kept adding batch after batch of kale. Reducing and reducing again until ...
... oh the pan seems to start to get very crowded.
Even some of the stock wants to hop out again. I have to be a bit more careful.
Despite that and the danger that the pan might overflow even more I kept going. Adding more and more kale.
Finally all of the 1 kg of kale was in that pan.
Now we can go on for real. I decided to let it cook openly at medium temperature for about 10 minutes. Maybe we get rid of the now a bit too much liquid.

After that it was time for the sausages to enter into the picture. Just puncture the sausages with the tip of your knife, so that they can release some of their juice to go into the kale. A great deal of the taste depends on it and with that, of course, also on the quality of your sausages. You might as well try other meat according to what is available to you. I could also imagine using bacon.
Now you can cover your pan, reduce the heat and let it continue to simmer for about 30-40 minutes. I only did 20 and left after that only to continue a few hours later.
While the kale is simmering you can cook and fry some potatoes to eat together with the kale and the Pinkel.
My mother used to add the potatoes to the kale and cooked them together, but I prefer it now this way.
Oh, I nearly forgot. Even two very greedy persons will not manage to eat all that. It will do at least for four. Otherwise you have to add more sausages.

That is a very comforting dish, something you for sure appreciate at the colder times of the year ... I could cry when I still think about what is ahead in the coming months ... I'm rather a heat person and I would appreciate a warmer place. But - things are as they are and we go on like this. There might  even be a sunny day again in the coming weeks.
What comforts you at such times of the year?


  1. I think this is a great way to get my husband to like kale! Anything tastes better cookes in some pork drippings!

    1. You see, things can be so easy at times. I didn't have kale in any other way.

  2. I dislike the cold, too...but I do love the comfort foods that come with the winter. I will have to serve a mini batch of your looks so simple and tasty!

    1. Well, eh, yes, it's totally simple unless of course you use more kale than what fits into your pan at once.
      SO I guess I have to get more comfort food recipes.

  3. Actually it is 2C here as well lol. I just happen to have kale in the fridge, I know how I will prepare it. Yeah it is like spinach...once cooked it's gone.

    1. However, it wasn't gone too much. I still got quite some leftovers. So I have been pondering on how to use those leftovers in a creative kind of way. Keep looking on the blog on what the leftovers will end up.


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