Monday, December 5, 2011

Grünkohl - German Style Green Kale with sausages and ham steak

If you think this is going to be light and healthy and vegan-friendly, you better leave this page now.
German style green kale is one of THE grandma generation dishes, that, served as a main dish usually contains quite a bit of (goose) fat and meat, bacon and sausages. You can also find it as a side dish with goose. It's rich, heavy and savoury - a perfect meal for cold days or after a long day of physical work outside. In North-West Germany it is served with a special kind of sausage, called "Pinkel", which contains grit, groats, oats and minced meat and is hard to get in the other parts of Germany. I'm not that attached to this kind of sausage and think you can just leave it out or make a mixture of grits and minced meat (pork) yourself and add a little bit of that mix to the cale. I faked a whole "Pinkel"-sausage, cause I couldn't get it anywhere here in Berlin but wanted to do it right. But it wasn't that not worth the whole effort. The other sausage that are quite hard to get if you don't live in or around Germany is "Mettwurst". It's like a soft salami, smoked and strongly flavoured.
In North America and Australia you may be able to find it in German or Polish grocery stores.

The grey thing in the back is my home-made pinkel sausage. Again, not worth the whole effort. Therefore just ignore it.

What you need:

1-1.5 kg green cale (frozen)
50g goose fat
3/4l meat broth, highly concentrated 
(if you use these cubes or powder, take the double amount of what is usually required for this amount of water )
450g onions chopped
approx. 100g minced meat (pork)
50g grits
a dash of allspice
salt, pepper, sugar
white vinegar
500g smoked bacon
4 ham steaks
4 Mettwürste
1-4 tbsp oat flakes

In large sauce pan heat up the goose fat. Add chopped onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add minced meat and a dash of all spice and mix everything. Cook until the meat is well-done and crumbles.
Now add the frozen green cale. Heat up the meat broth and pour over green cale. Close the lid and let everything simmer at low heat so that the cale can defrost. Stir in the grits. Add the bacon (as a whole!) and two of the Mettwürste. Before adding prick the sausages with a fork several times, to make sure they won't burst. Let everything simmer at low heat for about two hours.
Remove the bacon and sausages and set aside.

Now season the cale with salt, pepper, sugar, mustard and a bit of vinegar, if necessary.
Let it sit at a cool place (fridge, balcony...) overnight.

The next day, heat up the cale again. It should be kind creamy and viscid. If it is too liquid, just slowly mix in some of the oat flakes until the cale reaches the right density. Cut the sausages and bacon that went into the cale the day before into bite-sized cubes and add them back to the cale and bring everything to a boil. Make sure to stir every once in a while to avoid the cale from burning on the bottom of the sauce pan. 
Meanwhile in a second saucepan heat up some water. 
Add the other sausages, as well as the ham steaks and let simmer for around 8-10 minutes.

Serve the green cale the ham steaks, sausages and potatoes.

The minced meat, grit, all spice and some of the onions that I added to the cale sort of replaced the "Pinkel" sausage here.

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