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It’s very trendy to eat uncooked kale, but now we’ll try the cooked version!
Kale is characteristic of winter greens – I remember having kale during my childhood although my mother wasn’t so fond of cleaning kale leaves. I also remember that kale was always accompanied by greasy pork belly and/or a little less greasy “Mettwurst” – a typical German sausage (soft meat, spiced & smoked – to be used in any stews) – and as side dish there were always fried potatoes (aka home fries) with bacon.
For the record:
A famous companion of kale is “Pinkel” as “Grünkohl mit Pinkel” at home in the north-western part of Germany. “Pinkel” is a special type of “Mettwurst” with a characteristic flavour (sometimes described as strange, disgusting, nasty…) – I never tried.
Well: what kind of memory do I have? The kale stew of my childhood days was always rather fatty – a real feast of calories. Therefore I avoided kale in my own kitchen for long years… Especially later when my ex’ late mother supplied us with homemade kale stew I always tried to escape. She pointed out that any winter greens need lots of rich meat – always – to make them tasty – no chance: I couldn’t accept!
Finally my ex – enjoying kale, but not fond of too much fat – persuaded me to start a trial on some sort of slim straightforward kale cooking… and voilà: here comes the winner!
We start with kale leaves & cut them: take a handful of kale leaves & do 1 cm cuts, then turn the chopping board by 90 degrees & do another round of 1 cm cuts: don’t overdo! It doesn’t really matter if it is regular… (and the pieces shouldn’t get too small!).
- Cutting before washing!
- Cleaning only very thick stems before cutting!
- Of course: discard all limp leaves – if there are any – usually there arn’t!
- Don’t be afraid of the resulting large mountain of dry kale!
The cut kale is drowned in the sink filled with cold water. Wash thoroughly because there is a lot of sand – sometimes. Start cooking the kale in a medium pot (about 3.000 ml): the kale will shrink at once. When boiling for about 2-3 min drain the water & resume cooking, but this time only with about 1 cm water covering the bottom of the pot.
Now cut the “Mettwurst” in about 0,5 cm slices.
Put the slices in the kale & stir the mess.
Close the pot & let it simmer for about 30 min. Then try the kale:
- If you think it’s tender it’s fine.
- If you think it’s still to tough let it simmer for another 5-10 min.
…and voilà: cooked kale is ready (& it’s not greasy/fatty or whatever!).
- 500 gr kale
- 2 "Mettwurst" about 200-250 gr
- salt & pepper
- Clean the kale leaves of thick stems.
- Discard any limp leaves.
- Cut the kale leaves in 1 cm slices & once again at right angle - don't overdo!
- Wash the cut kale in the sink filled with cold water.
- Start cooking the cut kale in a medium pot (about 3.000 ml) for 2-3 min.
- Drain the water.
- Fill about 1 cm water in the pot & restart cooking the cut kale.
- Add salt & pepper - you'll need quite a lot!
- Cut the "Mettwurst" in about 0,5 cm slices.
- Add the slices to the kale & stir.
- Close the pot & let the mess simmer for about 30 min.
- Taste the kale: if it's tender serve it! Otherwise let it simmer for another 5-10 min.
Kale & fat: it’s a never ending story to achieve a balance between too much fat & too less flavour. My decision only using “Mettwust” reduces fat extremely while at the same time the flavour of the “Mettwurst” spreads all over the kale – that’s the main reason why I slice the “Mettwurst”. It is also important to use quite a lot of salt & pepper!
When shopping kale I usually found it packed in package size of 1.000 gr in the veg corner of my trusted food store. Sometimes it’s kale leaves, sometimes the kale leaves are already cut – if it’s a whole kale, i. e. including the big stem & remains of the roots, it’ll be more than 1.000 gr! For the recipe I started with about 500 gr which is generous for 2 people. What to do with the rest?
- You can invite 2 more people & double the ingredients – especially the “Mettwurst”.
- You can freeze the kale:
Process the kale until the point when it’s cut & washed – then freeze 50% of the cut kale.
When using frozen kale just put the frozen mess into the pot & let it boil.
I recommend not to freeze kale leaves as a whole w/o cleaning & washing (not only because it requires a lot of space in your freezer!).
Sorry, I don’t have any experience with freezing cooked kale – there weren’t any leftovers ever!
As I pointed out in the beginning “Mettwurst” is a special German sausage: it’s soft with coarse meat/fat pieces, spicy & smoked for preservation. In general – if there is no “Mettwurst” available – you can use a spicy sausage or tasty bacon.
The businesswoman with too many office hours thinks
It’s easy, but greasy – ha! At least a little greasy… On the other hand the preparation is simple: you don’t need too much effort while the kale simmers… I can imagine a pot of kale on a warmer as part of a “country style” brunch or dinner buffet! (It shows that you are down-to-earth in spite of sophistication!)