Grünkohl – Kale with caramelized Potatoes
OK, here is my funny – and quite embarrassing story about Grünkohl:
A German friend and I were wondering what “Kale” might be, but couldn’t find a translation for it. So we assumed it is a kind of vegetable that we don’t know in Europe. After trying it in salad, I decided that I like it. Reading about it’s health benefits made me even feel pretty good about it. So time went by and each Fall I felt a little sad because one of my favorite German Fall and Winter dishes “Grünkohl” was not available here in the US. Almost six years have passed and SURPRISE google translate now has a translation for Kale:
Grünkohl! Can you imagine how stupid I feel? I had eaten it all the time without knowing what it is. Well, to my excuse why I didn’t recognize this food I can tell you that in Germany I always bought kale in a processed frozen package or in a can, so I never saw the fresh harvested plant. Just to be sure that Kale and Grünkohl are the same thing, I looked up pictures of both in the internet and YES it really is the same food!
Grünkohl / Kale in Germany
Starting in November Germans start to complain (complaining is something deep in our nature) that it hasn’t frozen, yet, and that therefor the kale won’t taste. First I thought:”Well, then put it in the freezer” but later I found out that Kale gets a slightly sweet taste if it got some frost before being harvested.
I don’t know if the Kale that I bought here had gotten any freezing temperatures but it tasted quite good and that’s all that matters to me.
To make this dish from scratch, you can buy the stalks and wash and clean and cut the leaves from it – but why bother if one can buy the triple washed, ready to eat packages? How convenient – I LOVE it!
I bought a large package of about 600 g, though my recipe calls for 1000 g (1kg) but it was enough for the four of us. I will however write down the recipe for 1 kg since most families eat more than we do.
In my childhood
When I was a kid, I would not have appreciated this dish … if … it wouldn’t come with the sugar. It was the only dish (except for pancakes) that I was allowed to eat with sugar, since it is supposed to be eaten with a little bit it – but you don’t have to, though. I wish I had been allowed to eat everything with sugar, I am pretty sure that I would have been a much better eater. Unfortunately (for me) my mom was totally against sugar and any other sweets and that’s why Grünkohl was a favorite dish of mine even in my childhood. My kids enjoed the caramelized potatoes but preferred the Grünkohl without additional sugar – they like hearty!
I also don’t put sugar on my Grünkohl anymore, I just like it the way it is. The sausage gives it so much additional taste, nothing else needed! But the fried potatoes (aka Bratkartoffeln) I caramelize, which is also authentic for this meal. One can either just boil small round potatoes and then caramelize them with sugar in a pan or one boils large potatoes, cuts them into slices, fries them in some butter and then caramelize. I will explain the last option – it’s the way my family cooked it.
One quick paragraph about the sausages that need to be added to the kale. In Germany we use sausages that are called “Rauchenden”, they are basically smoked sausages with a height percentage of fat. Of cause I couldn’t get this exact same sausage here and I found myself in front of the sausage selection at our grocery, guessing which might be similar. I guessed well and the choice I made turned out to be very much like those from Germany with the exception that these were a more spicy but this didn’t matter, it still tasted great!