A coarse large-leaf cabbage with a curly crinkled appearance, kale is the cultivated variety of the wild cabbage native to the Mediterranean, and rich in minerals and vitamins.
The ancient Romans introduced it to northern Europe and today it is still popular in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, where recipes gradually found their way to the Atlantic fringe – Ireland, Portugal and Scandinavia in particular.
Curly kale is the most cultivated variety along with local varieties adapted to their environment, such as Portuguese kale (couve) used to make caldo verde.
Being the good collectors that they are, the Flemish took kale to their culinary hearts.
Kale is an essential ingredient in stoemp, a mash made with potatoes, leaf and root vegetables.
Cooked with butter and cream it forms part of the Danish grønlangkål med skinke – kale with ham and caramelised potatoes.
The combination of kale, butter, buttermilk or cream, potatoes and spring onions/scallions or leeks is believed to be one of the oldest dishes in northern Europe.
Kale has made a comeback in recent years, because the colder climates improves its flavour.
500 g kale 500 g potatoes, whole 10 leeks/spring onions/scallions, chopped 150 ml cream/milk 100 g butter/buttermilk Salt Pepper
Soak the kale in cold then warm water to remove dirt amd chase away the small spiders that love to weave their webs among its leaves.
Leave to drain for 30 minutes.
Remove stems, cut into leaves into strips then small pieces.
Bring to the boil in a little water, reduce heat and cook until al dente. Drain surplus water.
Boil the potatoes in their skins.
Cook the spring onions in the milk/cream over a low heat.
In a heavy based saucepan mash potatoes with the milk/cream and spring onions over a low heat.
Combine kale, seasoning and the butter, blend with a wooden spoon until the mash assumes the colour of the greens. Buttermilk can replace the butter to give a tangy taste.
Grønlangkål med Skinke
1 kg kale 75 g butter 20 ml cream 30 g flour 2 tsp sugar Salt Pepper 1 kg potatoes small 40 g sugar 50 g butter
Boil the potatoes in their skins, peel and leave to cool.
Heat sugar in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the butter. When it foams add the potatoes and coat in the sugar-butter mixture.
Keep the heat controlled until the potatoes are browned and heated through. Make sure they do not burn.
Make a roux in a heavy based saucepan, add kale and two tablespoons of water. Cook over a medium heat, adding a little more butter, finishing with sugar, salt and pepper.
Serve with cooked smoked ham, pork sausages, pork on the bone and head cheese.
1.5 kg floury potatoes, peeled, cubed 1 kg kale leaves 4 smoked sausages 100 ml milk, hot 75 g butter 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground Salt, pinch Mustard, for dressing
Boil onions and potatoes with a pinch of salt in sufficient water to cover in a large pot, strain, retaining the cooking liquid.
Put the kale in a large bowl with the liquid, cover and leave until leaves wilt.
Transfer kale and sufficient liquid to cover it to a saucepan, cover and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes, drain, squeeze out liquid and chop small.
Put the sausages in the remaining liquid, cover and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes.
Mash onions and potatoes with butter and milk, fold in the kale, season. Serve with pieces of sliced sausage dressed with mustard.
Traditional Kale RecipesCaldo Verde PORTUGAL kale sauce Vrzotovka SLOVENIA kale soup
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