Grünkohl - Northern German Curly Kale Recipe - Global Storybook

Grünkohl – Northern German Curly Kale Specialty

Rayka Kobiella

Rayka Kobiella

Rayka Kobiella is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Germany).

Rayka was born and raised in Northern Germany, in a small village on the border with Denmark. Growing up rather away from almost everything, she found her excitement in writing and visualizing life in places far away from home. Right after school, where she studied literature and anthropology, she started exploring the world.

Since 2000, Rayka has been living a nomad live, writing about traveling, plays and short stories, making art and theater in Europe, East Africa, South East Asia and North America.

She's a member of Label Gray NYC, the FREE(AK) SHOW and the founder of the Performancekollektiv for New Music and Text in the intercultural context DissOPERAlusion.
Rayka Kobiella

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Consuming curly kale with different kinds of meat, right after the first frost, is a huge tradition in Germany.  This national dish is popular everywhere – from cities to the countryside, especially in Northern Germany.  In fact, curly kale been know since as early as the 16th century for it’s anti-inflammatory qualities, helping locals withstand various sicknesses.  Hence it makes perfect sense that kale made it big in the coldest part of Germany.

If you order “Grünkohl” in Northern Germany, it would usually come with onions and pieces of “pinkel” – soft smoked sausage made of minced pork and beef.  However, it’s most commonly served with a smoked pork chop, a cabbage sausage and baked potatoes (salty or caramelized), as well as mustard on the side.

Grünkohl - Northern German Curly Kale Recipe - Global StorybookThe Ingredients: (for up to 4 servings)

  • 1,5 kg (or 3 pounds) curly kale
  • 3 onions
  • ½ liter broth
  • 60g shortening
  • 4 pork chops
  • 4 soft smoked sausage made of minced pork and beef (“pinkel”) or the cabbage sausages
  • 2 pieces of smoked ham
  • 1 kg (2 pounds) of small potatoes
  • mustard, salt, pepper, and sugar
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Grünkohl - Northern German Curly Kale Recipe - Global StorybookHow to Make the Grünkohl – Northern German Curly Kale Specialty:

1. Wash the curly kale well, and let it drip off.  Cut the onions and one piece of smoked ham into thin slices.  Place the pork chops together with shortening and one sliced onion into a pan and let them cook over medium heat.

2. Take the meat out and place the curly kale into the same pan.  Boil the kale in the shortening mixture over low heat, until it collapses.  Then add onions and ham.  Season it with salt, pepper and sugar.  Then add the vegetable broth.

3. Place the sausages on top of the curly kale and add ¾ of water.  Boil for 40 minutes on low heat (in a pressure cooker, if possible).  Let off the pressure, take out the sausages and leave kale to boil on low heat for another 50 minutes.  We believe in Germany that the curly kale tastes better when it’s cooked for as long as possible.

4. In the meantime, peel and then boil the potatoes until they’re soft.  Take them out of the pot and cut them into slices.  Next, cut the second piece of ham and one onion into thin, small slices.  Place the onion onto a heated pan and fry for one minute; then add the potatoes.  Once you turn the potatoes for the first time, add the small slices of ham.  Once the potatoes and ham are crispy – you’re officially done.

5. Take out the curly kale and serve it with a cabbage sausage on a plate.  Add the pork chop, baked potatoes and mustard.  Also, try sprinkling a pinch of sugar on your curly kale – that’s the favorite way to serve it in my region, the “Holsteinische Schweiz”.

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